So Go Ahead and Sue Me, Taylor Swift

Swift_performs_in_St._Louis,_Missouri_in_2013I can’t say that I have never, never, never listened to a song by Taylor Swift, but I can say that I’m not exactly (I’m not really) a fan of her music. Ms. Swift is, however, extremely popular in the United States and internationally, known for her catchy (easy to remember) tunes (music) and lyrics (words to a song).

But if you’re not careful, Swift may just decide to sue you (take you to court and demand money from you for something you did wrong). Here’s why: Swift has trademarked (legally protected) some of the most popular phrases from her songs, claiming (saying) that these phrases are her intellectual property (things you create that belong to you). And if you use them without her permission, she will take you to court (sue you).

What phrases are we talking about here? None that you or I will probably ever use, to be honest. But just to be safe, here’s a list of some of the phrases that you should avoid using without young Taylor’s permission (and if you do, you should put the official trademark symbol –  – on them):

  • This Sick Beat™ – The adjective sick is now used as a slang term meaning excellent or great. The beat refers to the rhythm of a song.
  • Party Like It’s 1989™ – To party means to have a good time, often by dancing and drinking. This expression is actually a rip-off (something stolen from) another song lyric by Prince, “Party like it’s 1999.” Perhaps Prince should sue Swift for stealing his lyrics? By the way, I have no idea what the difference is between partying like it’s 1989 and 1999, except I personally probably did more in ’89 (before marriage) than in ’99 (after marriage).
  • Cause We Never Go Out of Style™ – Cause is a short form of “because.” To go out of style means to no longer be popular or fashionable. For example, you could say, “Black dresses never go out of style,” meaning they will always be popular.
  • Could Show You Incredible Things™ – To show someone something is to give them the experience of it, or to let them look at it. Incredible here means amazing, wonderful, or – dare I say it? (should I actually say it?) – sick.
  • Nice to Meet You, Where Have You Been?™ – Nice to meet you is a popular expression to say when you are introduced (meet) someone for the first time. Where have you been? would be something you would ask of someone you already know but haven’t seen for a long time or have been waiting for. I guess the idea of the phrase (having not listened to the original song) is that you are meeting someone for the first time that you wish you had met earlier, perhaps because you find the person attractive.

The reason behind Swift’s trademarking of these phrases is not just meglomania (the desire to dominate everyone around you, to have great power). Some say she has a legitimate (logical, legal, and/or defensible) reason to be concerned about other people taking her phrases and using them to make money, by putting them on things such as T-shirts or handbags (purses).

You might be wondering about whether we here at ESL Podcast have trademarked anything. The answer is yes: ESLPod™ is a registered trademark. But if Swift wants to use it in one of her songs, she has my permission, cuz (because) we hope never to go out of style.


Image credit: “Swift performs in St. Louis, Missouri in 2013” by Jana Zills.

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20 Responses to So Go Ahead and Sue Me, Taylor Swift

  1. soraia says:


    There was a time that the music was a popular expression everybody used any expression
    that thought cool, now everything is equal the money.
    Tailor Swift I have the question for you?
    Do you believe that somebody will continue your fan if dont comment or dont use your phrases?
    So we musnt to song your music in anywhere….because its non sense….

  2. JETLEE says:

    Unbelievable…. Are the phrases really protected by law? People in the U.S. don’t have freedom to say such phrases? Should I take it seriously?

  3. peter says:

    Hi chief,
    Firs of all I wanna announce that I never ever heard of the singer and I must tell u that I know my fair share of singers and acters. Having said that , she shouldn’t be as popular as you think she is.
    There is one thing I can’t understand. Some of this phrase rather expressions are awfully common and people including myself use them profusely without quoting and unquoting her. u know what I m saying ?
    Like the expression ” out of style ( TM :)))
    Are u saying she first coined ” out of style ” and then the term catches on over night ?
    Give me a break , u can’t be serious . The term has been around for as long as I remember.
    So do ” where have u been ? ( TM) :)) and nice to meet u. I dare to say the two sentences above have been around since Adam.
    I m very confused!
    I can’t see the point!!!
    U know ,it happens sometimes that some lines in some classic movies catches on becomes like trendy over night and people start using them for ages to come! But, I think ,it is safe to say there are no trademarked or anything!as far as I m concerned they are not off-limits to anybody
    People have free access to them. By that I mean they can use them on occasions worry-free. I mean ,they can use them without fearing that they may receive a writ rather subpoena in the mail the next day.
    Sorry ,But,i just don’t get it. I can’t make heads or tails out of it.


  4. Dan says:

    Hi there, how is everyone?

    Last album I bought online was from a Canadian guy.
    I heard his music as a intro for this show I watch on YT and purchased the entire album.
    There was not fixed price (apparently it’s a new recent system) I had to make an offer and ended up paying 12 Canadian dollars.

    Back to the topic, looking and following several YT channels I have noticed that everyone is selling its own stuff, like: T-shirts, cups and so on, with their logo or catchy phrase or icon printed on it.
    Frankly, I do not see or find the above listed phrases so interesting and I cannot picture those printed on something. Maybe just on a T-shirt That I am not buying.


  5. Aecio Flavio Perim says:

    I am waiting my fellows to write something here. Hello, friends. I am just waiting you to come and teach me things only you know. The girl is nece and gorgeous, that Taylor Swift. But she is also easy burning. We got be carefull.

  6. emiliano says:

    I don´t know what to say dear Jeff, is all the american society crazy?
    What a stupid subject, My God, just incredible.

    My best to you Jeff.
    “Nice to meet you”


  7. Aecio Flavio Perim says:

    One thing is true: she is very beautiful, only one thing she should avoid: being stupid and conquer her fans. Even though she makes success and makes money. No dout.

  8. peter says:

    I don’t know if her pic does her justice! If it does,I must say : She is one gorgeous woman

    I don’t know if it is the lighting or she is really that beautiful!
    Or perhaps she photograph well.
    U never know

    Voice and beauty, she is blessed, man

  9. Dainx says:

    Indeed I never known the trademarks of her songs eventhough I’m a fan of her music

  10. Dan says:

    How is everyone doing today? I am good.

    I wanna share something I read today.
    It’s on an article about a couple of Transgender students in some school somewhere in California.
    One kid says that hi is often asked whether hi’s a man or a woman, and to that he adds:
    “”I just really think I’m really both,” .. “I really don’t care what people call me. Sometimes I say I’m a girl. Sometimes I say I’m a boy. Sometimes I say, does it really matter?”

    I like that reply/thought. Does it really matter?

    Anyway, just that. Thank you bye!

  11. Tania says:

    Hi! I agree with Taylor Swift. The word “swift” means quick, rapid. Who is swifter , more agile, has more money.
    Her phrases, the first idea to trademark the most popular phrases from her songs.
    Nobody can use them on T-shirts or handbags. A title of a song is an emblem of a singer.
    It’s not a megalomania, it’s an intellectual property.
    The creation is the most difficult thing and it must be protected by law.

  12. Tania says:

    Hi! One of the most beautiful declaration of love, in my opinion , is
    “Nice to meet you, where have you been?”
    Where have you hidden so many years? I have been waiting for you. At last I found you.
    I never, never, never let you go. I’m so happy…

  13. Tania says:

    Hi! I know the name Kunta Kinte but I can’t remember where from.
    A colleague of work told me last days: don’t you remember the TV movie with the slave “Kunta Kinte”?
    I have just read the book Roots by Alex Haley (1921 – 1992). I had to go to the public library again.
    When you tell us that it is considered one of the most important U.S. works of the twentieth century, I want to read it.
    It stimulated interest in genealogy and appreciation for African-American history.
    Alex Haley said: “Roots is not just a saga of my family. It is the symbolic saga of a people”.

  14. Tania says:

    Hi! “Roots is a work of the imagination rather than strict historical scholarship”.
    To me, reading this novel, it was a nice history lesson of the U.S.
    We can read about all important historical events. You told us about all at the English Cafe.
    It was a pleasure to remember of them.
    The Southern secessionists were defeated in the Civil War (1861 – 1865) and the Negro slaves were freed without , howere,
    obtaining real equality of rights with the white settlers.

  15. Tania says:

    Hi! Kunta Kinte persisted in keeping alive his dream of freedom and his pride in his African heritage,
    emphasizing the importance of family and the oral tradition to his children.

    I remember of the novel “Song of Solomon” by Toni Morrison (1993 Nobel Prize in literature).
    Toni Morrison tells us a story with a little snake, and Ales Haley tells us a story with a little crocodile.

    A boy , going to a bank of a river, found a crocodile caught in a trap.
    – Help me! cried the crocodile.
    – You will kill me! said the boy.
    – How could I do that? Come closer by me!
    The boy went to the crocodile and at once he was caught by the long teeth from the wide opened mouth of the crocodile.
    – Is this how you repay my goodness – with badness? cried the boy.
    – Of course, said the crocodile out of the corner of his mouth. That is the way of the world.
    The goodness is repaid with badness.

  16. Tania says:

    Hi! Alex Haley’s personal motto is “Find the good -and praise it.”

    And some Alex Haley Quotes:

    “My fondest hope is that Roots may start black, white, brown, red, yellow people digging back for their own roots.”

    “We all suffer. If a man’s wise, he learns from it.”

  17. Tania says:

    “I wasn’t going to be one of those people who died wondering what if?
    I would keep putting my dreams to the test – even though it meant living with
    uncertainty and fear of failure. This is the shadowland of hope,
    and anyone with a dream must learn to live there.”

  18. Tania says:

    Thank you for this nice novel “Roots” by Alex Haley.

  19. Tania says:

    Hi! Kinte had a daughter named Kizzy, who was Haley’s great-great-great grandmother.
    Reading the name Kizzy, I thought that it was the same name with the writer [kizi], Ken Kesey, the author of the novel
    “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”.

  20. Narges says:

    I never ever think somebody be fan of her words!

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