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Faculty of Law Twilight Seminar - What Taylor Swift Can Teach Us About Copyright: The Story of “Taylor’s Version”

You are invited to attend the Faculty of Law Twilight Seminar: What Taylor Swift Can Teach Us About Copyright:  The Story of “Taylor’s Version” with Dr Wellett Potter

The seminar will commence at 5.30pm with light refreshments being offered from 5pm
Venue: 6_3_14 (Building 6, Theatre 2)

In recent years, the music industry has witnessed profound transformation, largely due to the digital revolution and streaming platforms. Amidst this shift, Taylor Swift, an iconic artist and songwriter, has emerged as a prominent figure in the complex landscape of intellectual property (“IP”) and copyright law. This presentation aims to delve into Swift's remarkable journey through the lens of IP, shedding light on her artistic evolution and the influence of copyright on her career.
Swift's career is a testament to the power of song writing and the challenges faced by artists in the digital age. As one of the most successful and prolific songwriters of her generation, she has captured the hearts of millions with her music. She has also successfully navigated the often turbulent waters of the music industry, particularly in terms of ownership and control over her creative output.
The presentation will explore several critical issues, including Swift's experiences with record label contracts, her highly publicised battle with Scooter Braun over song rights and master recordings, and the reasons behind her decision to re-record her first six albums (known as “Taylor’s Version”). These experiences underscore the broader dilemmas faced by artists and songwriters concerning the rights to their own work in an industry where IP has become increasingly valuable and copyright is a means of asserting ownership.
Swift's journey provides a case study for understanding the complex interplay between freedom of creative expression, the vulnerability of young songwriters signing to record labels, the struggle for artistic control, contractual agreements, and IP. By examining Swift’s experience and decisions, valuable insight can be gained into the challenges that modern artists face in an evolving digital music industry, and the broader implications for IP and copyright law.


Dr Wellet Potter

Dr Wellett Potter is a lecturer at the School of Law at the University of New England, Armidale. Her PhD thesis specialised in intellectual property, examining the copyright protection of databases in the fourth industrial era. Her passion for research stems from a deep curiosity about intellectual property, copyright law and the emerging challenges through the use of artificial intelligence and technology. The interplay between technologies (such as artificial intelligence) and copyright in new contexts fascinates her, as the world enters this fourth industrial era. She is excited to continue pursuing her research interests and looks forward to contributing to society’s understanding of these issues through peer-reviewed articles, conference presentations and community engagement activities.
Dr Potter has taught and tutored in over 25 law units at UNE, including both Priestley 11 units such as Foundations of Law and Torts and electives such as Intellectual Property Law. She is delighted also to be a principal and co-supervisor for HDR candidates as well as Honours students. 
An active and enthusiastic member of the UNE community, she is the Chair of the School of Law’s First Year Committee, which specialises in addressing issues particular to first-year units.  She is also a member of the following committees: the School of Law’s Communications Committee, the Education Committee, SABL’s Innovator’s Group, and SABL’s Teaching-Focused Committee.

Please register your attendance by 5pm Friday, 3 May 2024.

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