Following reports of a copyright infringement lawsuit filed against Taylor Swift on behalf of the writers of 3LW’s hit, “Playas Gon’ Play,” I noticed some attention on a 2015 article I had written on LinkedIn about intellectual property and Taylor Swift’s song “Shake It Off.”
It turns out that my article was cited in a post on Jezebel:
But in a 2015 essay written by patent consultant Kevin Rieffel, he points out that “haters gonna hate” and “players gonna play,” and variations on the two, have been used countless times in songs by Kelly Rowland, 504 Boyz, and Notorious B.I.G.—so it’s difficult to prove legal ownership of these phrases.
Another reference to my post was in igeeKsApps, which kindly referred to me as “patent expert Kevin Rieffel.”
My post on LinkedIn has about 6,500 views at this point. While some of my posts have received a lot of attention, this on–and the very mediocre graphic I created for it–did not have more than a couple hundred hits.
While my focus these days is on patents, the IP of music has certainly been a passion of mine for years. With headline-grabbing lawsuit popping up frequently, discussing the need for balance in copyright policy in today’s music industry should be a priority.
In 2015, I said:
Whether the issues are allegedly stolen lyrics, DJs and producers remixing and sampling, or even online public performance rights for a solo guitarist with a YouTube channel, the twisting of copyright law and the hyperbolic headlines that follow filing of litigation provide little stability and guidance for artists in a fragile market. Copyrights are meant to protect creators from theft but misuse of copyright law … has repercussions that increase the cost of making music for everyone.