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Taylor Swift’s team sues Utah theme park

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Editor’s Note: New developments have occurred related to this story, click here for the latest.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (ABC4) – Just weeks after a Utah theme park sued singer/songwriter Taylor Swift, her intellectual property management company is taking a different action.

Court documents show TAS (Taylor Alison Swift) Rights Management is suing Pleasant Grove’s Evermore Park, saying the park used Swift’s songs without proper licenses before it filed its own lawsuit.

The lawsuit says Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI), which is tasked with protecting the works of Swift and over a million other artists around the world, repeatedly attempted to contact Evermore Park to inform them that their use of copyrighted pieces was unlawful. Evermore Park allegedly “ignored those messages, opting instead to continuing using [three of Swift’s songs, called the Works] without authorization, with full knowledge of their infringement, to drive attention and attendance to their theme park.”

In early February, Evermore Park’s chief executive officer Ken Bretschneider filed a lawsuit against Swift for trademark infringement with her latest album, ‘Evermore.’ That lawsuit alleges the album negatively impacted the park, specifically its online presence, which spiked after ‘Evermore’ was released.

The park also alleges it sent Swift a cease and desist letter in mid-December. Swift’s legal team says the claims of trademark infringement are baseless, adding that the addition of “Taylor Swift…Album” around Evermore makes the trademark different, which is allowed under current U.S. law. They add that while the theme park frequently uses an all-upper-case spelling of Evermore, the album uses all lower-case spelling.

Bretschneider told ABC4 in early February that he has received backlash for the lawsuit against Swift.

“Taylor Swift’s PR team has gone out and made me look like the worst possible person on the planet,” he said. “I’ve had people sending me death threats, I’ve had people telling me to kill myself and people who have never been to our park giving one-star reviews.”

SLIDESHOW: Some artists who allegedly had their songs unlawfully played at Evermore Park

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Court documents show this latest lawsuit by Swift’s team alleges that “Recently, and only after this lawsuit became imminent, [Evermore Park has] reached out to BMI in an overt attempt to cover up their years of unlawful conduct and intentional failure to compensate artists, admitting that any prior use was without license or authorization.”

BMI says Evermore Park has also played songs by Katy Perry, Abba, the Beatles, Billy Joel, Britney Spears, Green Day, Gotye, Journey, Nirvana, Semisonic, Third Eye Blind, Tom Petty, Queen, Weezer, and Whitney Houston, among others.

Swift’s team calls the lawsuit by Evermore Park “a meritless trademark claim” in their current filings.

SLIDESHOW: Photos of Evermore Park

  • Evermore Construction
  • EVERMORE CONSTRUCTION
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  • Evermore
  • EVERMORE
  • Evermore Park

It also includes statements sent from BMI to Evermore Park, saying that between May 2019 and December 2019, the park racked up a music usage fee of $1,728.67.

This lawsuit accuses Bretschneider and Evermore Park of one count of copyright infringement and one count of vicarious copyright infringement. It asks that the court order Evermore Park to pay Swift actual damages and profits attributable to the infringement and be permanently enjoined from playing her works. Her team also demands a trial by jury.

You can read the full court document below:

ABC4 has reached out to Swift’s team and Evermore Park for comment. A future court date has yet to be set for this case.

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