Dear Taylor Swift, Please Stop Stealing Art
It’s not an unusual thing for a big, evil corporation or entity to steal art from the creative little folk. Urban Outfitters is constantly being accused of stealing art and putting it on mass distressed $50 t-shirts. Jonathan Coulton fans have reason to hate Glee even beyond the usual reasons. Still, the fact that this happens all the time should not make you any less outraged to hear that Taylor Swift has now joined that list of millionaires stealing from emerging artists.
Ally Burguieres is an artist from New Orleans who has a few shops which, as she puts it, “gratefully rely on people who demonstrate that art they love is worth paying for.” Taylor Swift, by the looks of it, loved Burguieres’ art— specifically a cute drawing of a fox— but didn’t find it worth paying for. Last year, while she was promoting her 1989 album, Swift posted the fox along with a song lyric to her Instagram page.
Swift did credit another artist— one who apparently stole Burguieres’ image and signed her own name to it. When Burguieres pointed out what had happened, she says she expected Swift and her team to correct the mistake and offer compensation for her work. Because yes, art is work and is worth paying for. That’s not what happened, though. Here’s Burguieres’ whole story.
According to The Mirror, Swift’s legal team responded with a comment that when Burguieres came forward as the real owner, they did extend “a fair offer of payment well above a reasonable licensing fee for the short time that the fan art was posted online,” with no stipulation that the money had to be donated to charity. They also make it pretty clear that they think the “huge publicity” generated by the use of her art should be payment enough. Burguieres wrote another Facebook post to say that the first claim is false and the second is straight bullshit.
There are a lot of opinions of Taylor Swift out there. Her fans largely hold tight to the belief that she is the coolest, nicest, most generous person on the planet. Her harshest critics seem to think she’s the ultimate mean girl who also happens to be a master of playing the manufactured image game. The rest of us probably don’t give a crap who she actually is as a person (with varying degrees of disgust and respect sprinkled in there), as long as she doesn’t steal from non-famous non-millionaires just trying to make it in the world as artists.
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