This Artist Claims Taylor Swift Stole Her Artwork To Promote "1989"
"Taylor, as a professional, would you agree to such terms from Apple, or Spotify? My work is my living—it is how I pay bills and support my family and employees."
New Orleans artist Ally Burguieres is currently in the middle of a plagiarism battle with Taylor Swift over an Instagram post the singer uploaded more than a year ago.
Promoting her album 1989, Swift uploaded a cartoon of a fox with the lyrics to "I Know Places" on Halloween, 2014. The artwork appeared to be a re-created copy of a $45 print Burguieres sells on her website.
Now, over a year since the incident, Burguieres has written a damning post on Swift's Facebook wall, condemning the actions of Swift and her team in dealing with the issue.
"I may 'only' have 1239 followers on Instagram, but I believe my work has value," she wrote. "As a professional artist, I was astonished to see you use one of my most popular designs on all your official social media platforms as part of your promotions for 1989.
"While I wondered why no one had sought permission or offered compensation to do so, I recognized that such endorsement is a once-in-a-lifetime boost for an artist and can skyrocket an artist’s career. Friends congratulated me and customers expressed joy. But congratulations turned to confusion. The design was a copy, and with someone else’s name signed to it."
Burguieres went on to write about the devastation she faced after realising her work wasn't credited back to her and her disappointment in Swift for not acting on the issue "properly".
"I thought if you only KNEW about the error, you would do what is in your power to make it right," Burguieres wrote. "I was wrong. My efforts to combat the pirated and unauthorized copy (and your use and distribution of it to millions of people) were noticed, as you removed the post after several days. But the copy had been shared and downloaded countless times, and it seemed neither you nor your team intended on correcting your mistake."
After "months of effort", Burguieres said, she was offered no credit on the design but a payment of a "four-figure" amount with the stipulation it must be donated to charity.
"Taylor, as a professional, would you agree to such terms from Apple, or Spotify?" wrote Burguieres. "My work is my living—it is how I pay bills and support my family and employees. Many of your fans are professional artists, and support themselves and their families with earnings from their intellectual property. Would you really profit from and distribute a copy of their work to millions of people, and then tell them they don’t deserve professional recognition or compensation?"
A spokesperson for Swift told BuzzFeed News that Taylor believed the artwork was an original piece from a fan, saying:
Ms Burguieres did not contact Taylor's office, but she posted on social media her claim that the fan had used her drawing. We found that posting, accepted it at face value and immediately took down Taylor's posting of the fan art. At no time during these postings did Ms Burguieres contact our office directly. Notwithstanding the huge publicity this has generated for Ms Burguieres and her store, in early November Ms. Swift's office made a fair offer of payment well above a reasonable licensing fee for the short time that the fan art was posted online. The offer was for a payment to Ms Burguieres - there was no requirement of a contribution to any charity. Her lawyer further advised us that Ms Burguieres chose to go after Taylor only and not against the woman who has admitted she used Ms Burguieres' work as inspiration. Ms. Burguieres' lawyer acknowledged Ms Swift's action was unintentional, but rejected the offer. She promised to get back to us with an explanation of why she felt Ms Burguieres was entitled to more money, but she never did that and the next we heard was Ms Burguieres' new posting. We have tried on multiple occasions to address Ms Burguieres' concerns, but these actions make it clear to us that this is just an unfortunate effort to extract more money and more publicity.