Taylor Swift’s ‘Fifteen’ may go to trial in copyright lawsuit

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Pattie Lynn Berry claims she wrote most of Taylor Swift’s “Fifteen” in 2008

A judge has ruled that Taylor Swift’s song “Fifteen” may go to trial in a copyright lawsuit.

Pink Floyd co-writer Richard Blackwell, 64, says Taylor Swift’s 2012 hit infringes his 1965 song ‘Stargirl Interlude’ for lyrics and musical elements.

Taylor Swift’s lawyers say his accusation of copyright infringement is “a frivolous claim”.

The lawsuit could set a precedent for copyright litigation in pop music.

This case may also prove a challenge for Ms Swift and her team.

They already faced a lawsuit over the songs’ “likeness” from a woman on whose request Pink Floyd lifted the melody of one of its songs.

Back then, a judge ruled against the woman, who was seeking between $400,000 and $5m (£300,000 and £3.3m) in compensation from the band.

It could be difficult for Ms Swift’s camp to counter any arguments of copyright infringement if that ruling is overturned on appeal.

‘Great case’

Taylor Swift has defended her song, saying: “I could never have created ‘Fifteen’ without being inspired by ‘Stargirl Interlude’, which I listened to when I was nine years old.”

The judge in the case against Pink Floyd, Richard Lubbock, said in a ruling that: “This case is, at its core, a copyright infringement claim with issues of fact that are hard to separate from a party’s artistic intent.

“Even though the parties have clashed, the evidence shows that [Ms Swift] is the ‘author’ of ‘Fifteen’.

“The evidence shows that [Richard Blackwell] is not the ‘author’ of ‘Fifteen’.

“There is also substantial evidence that Taylor Swift was competent and intelligent enough to create ‘Fifteen’.

“The inference of truth is so strong that it is not unreasonable to expect this case to go to trial.”

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In his ruling, Lubbock also mentioned the Taylor Swift/isis feud.

“This case may, however, be a cause celebre,” he added.

Mr Blackwell’s suit claims he first wrote a short song for Pink Floyd’s mid-1960s album Dark Side of the Moon.

The song, titled “Stargirl Interlude”, combines elements of black jazz and California music with lyrics about a young girl who waits until adulthood to become a superhero.

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