LYRIC VIDEO: www.youtube.com/watch?v=uipp8kiYU9I
In January 2015, it was announced that Taylor Swift has applied to trademark the phrase "This Sick Beat" (among other phrases).
Trademarks of common idioms such as this are a direct attack on one of the most fundamental and inalienable rights of all: our freedom of speech.
If you give the bourgeoisie an inch, they will take a mile... and everything else you have in the process. They have already privatized land, water, and words. After language, they will next try to privatize air.
But, although the rich can try, they will never truly own the words we use and the language we speak.
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*N.B. To be clear, first and foremost, although much of the press has hastily reported otherwise, Swift has *not* yet legally been granted the trademarks for "this sick beat" and other phrases. Time magazine makes this absolutely clear:
Swift applied for these trademarks in October 2014, and they have yet to be approved by the US Patent and Trademark Office. My use of “this sick beat” is ergo in violation of no laws.
Moreover, as I articulate in the disclaimer below, my utilization of “this sick beat” incontrovertibly falls under fair use, regardless of whether or not the phrase is officially trademarked.
Read my official statement on the controversy surrounding this song, trademarks, and Taylor Swift here:
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Although Taylor Swift’s applications to trademark “this sick beat” and other phrases have not yet been approved by the US Patent and Trademark Office, I also want to make it clear that, even if they had already been approved, my use of “this sick beat” unequivocally falls under fair use. “This Sick Beat™,” in both musical and video form, constitutes fair use under US copyright law, in the words of attorney Patrick McKay at FairUseTube, “because it is (1) non-commercial, (2) transformative in nature, (3) uses no more of the original work than necessary for the video’s purpose, and (4) does not compete with the original work [a single line in a song of a different title] and could have no negative affect on its market.”
Title 17, chapter 1 of the U.S. Code, “Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use,” dictates that a work that is made “for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright.” This is especially true when works are made for nonprofit purposes, as is unquestionably the case with “This Sick Beat™.”
No money whatsoever is being or can be made from this song. I demonetized my YouTube channel before posting this video, and the song itself is not available for purchase anywhere—it can only be downloaded, and only for free, at my Bandcamp and Souncloud accounts.
Moreover, as American University’s Center for Media and Social Impact (CMSI) writes in regards to “Commenting on or critiquing of copyrighted material,”
"Video makers [and musicians and other artists] have the right to use as much of the original work as they need to in order to put it under some kind of scrutiny. Comment and critique are at the very core of the fair use doctrine as a safeguard for freedom of expression. So long as the maker analyzes, comments on, or responds to the work itself, the means may vary. Commentary may be explicit (as might be achieved, for example, by the addition of narration) or implicit (accomplished by means of recasting or recontextualizing the original). In the case of negative commentary, the fact that the critique itself may do economic damage to the market for the quoted work (as a negative review or a scathing piece of ridicule might) is irrelevant."