Though Taylor Swift undoubtedly uses Etsy, she’s not cool with its users profiting off her good, crafty name. Like Beyoncé before her, Swift has enlisted lawyers to file cease and desist letters against Etsy users who emblazon hoodies with “TAYLOR SWIFT OR DIE,” mark up mugs with “Shake It Off”, and, for whatever reason, slap lyrics on grosgrain hair bows. (The verdict’s still out on how she feels about creepy pencil drawings.) Swift already owns a number of trademarks related to her songs and brand and is going after users who violate her holdings. In a legal notice sent by Etsy to one of the users, “certain material on Etsy ‘is a product never offered by the Trademark owner,’ ‘violates a celebrity’s right of publicity,’ and/or ‘contains unlawful comparison to trademark owner’s brand name’.”
BuzzFeed talked to several Etsy users who have already received cease and desists, all of who seem to claim that they only made the merch because they’re such big Swift fans. Said one,
“When we got the e-mail that the trademark infringement occurred, we were pretty shocked because while our item was popular we didn’t feel as if it had become popular enough to cause harm to Taylor Swift’s empire. We were shocked. And we were scared. We didn’t even make enough money for a lawyer and this had seemed like such a harmless and fun idea… Obviously an artist has a right to their art and people should respect that. But at the same time most people, like us, are trying to be respectful and contribute to the excitement that the artist brings into our lives.
When that is taken away, it leaves us with a bitter taste in our mouths. It feels as though we don’t matter, that our ideas and thoughts and creations never belonged to us in the first place. No matter how hard we worked. And for other fans who make art, I’m afraid that this is going to be the future.”