And they shall sue one another… nevermore.
Taylor Swift and Evermore Park, a theme park in Utah, have dropped the lawsuits they filed against each other in February, according to Swift’s camp. Neither side got any cash in the agreement to set aside their respective claims.
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“As a resolution of both lawsuits, the parties will drop and dismiss their respective suits without monetary settlement,” said a statement from Swift’s spokesperson.
Reps for Evermore Park could not be reached for comment. The theme park, which has no rides and is closer to an immersive Renaissance Faire-type experience, is currently closed, after having to cancel its planned winter season and lay off dozens of employees as a result of conditions imposed by the pandemic.
Evermore Park was the first to sue, on Feb. 2 in Utah, alleging that Swift’s December album release, “Evermore,” and its attendant merchandise infringed on the attraction’s trademarks.
On Feb. 22, Swift’s company TAS Rights Management sued Evermore Park in return in her home state of Tennessee, contending that the attraction had long had its costumed performers singing hits by Swift and others without a license, despite demands made in the past by the performing rights organization BMI.
On the surface, the two lawsuits dealt with unrelated matters, although the TAS lawsuit tangentially made mention of the suit filed 20 days earlier by Evermore Park.
Deep into the Swift lawsuit, it was asserted that her attorneys were contacted on Feb. 3 — the day after the Evermore Park suit was filed — by “a former Evermore Park volunteer and frequent patron of Evermore Park, advising of the unlicensed public performance of Artist’s music. Information was provided by this individual proving Defendants’ infringement of the copyrighted works.”
Evermore Park’s suit said that when Swift suddenly announced the imminent release of her album on Dec. 10, “web traffic on Evermore Park’s website… spiked 330.4% in comparison to traffic on the previous day.” Furthermore, the filing said that after the theme park sent a cease-and-desist letter on Dec. 29 telling Swift’s lawyers to discontinue any use of the title “Evermore,” the star’s attorneys wrote back saying, “[i]f anything, your client’s website traffic has actually increased as a result of the release of Ms. Swift’s recent album which, in turn could only serve to enhance your client’s mark.” But Evermore park didn’t see it that way, attaching a screenshot of Google search results from Jan. 31 in which a search on the word “evermore” produces only one result for the theme park and many more for Swift’s album.
Evermore Park’s suit details plenty of other beefs the company has with Swift, all the way down to how she had used the words “escapism” and “epic” in describing the material on her album, words that also appear in the park’s promotional material. It contended that the “Willow” music video, which depicts Swift inside the base of a tree, resembled tree-trunk imagery in a pair of park soundtrack albums that are for sale on iTunes. The suit also alleges that Swift’s “ornamental cloth patches, three-dimensional plastic ornaments, purses, all-purpose carrying bags, key wallets and key pouches” resemble their own souvenirs.
The Evermore Park suit went so far as to condemn “use of explicit lyrics and marketing of goods using vulgar terms” — specifically singling out a Swift store merch item known as “the ‘fancy shit’ mug” — that it claimed could tarnish the park’s reputation.
TAS’ countersuit said that it had learned from the one-time volunteer that Evermore Park had an area where costumed employees would “play songs upon request,” including not just Swift’s but hits by everyone from the Beatles to Britney Spears, and that BMI had warned the park on a number of occasions beginning in 2019 that it was in violation of copyright law by not having a license for public performance of the songs.
In its lawsuit, Evermore Park had asked for a jury to reward “not more than $2,000 per counterfeit mark,” without specifying how many infringements the company had in mind. Swift’s suit did not ask for any specific monetary damages.
In January, the park told Fox 13 Salt Lake City that the future of the park was uncertain amid the cancellation and layoffs, and that the failure of a PPP loan to come through was part of the reason for the park unexpectedly shutting down again after a previous four-month shutdown that had hit the company’s finances hard. At that time the company said there was still a hope of being able to reopen this summer.
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