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Taylor Swift countersues Utah’s Evermore Park for using songs without permission

Pleasant Grove theme park leveled similar allegations against Swift earlier this month

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Taylor Swift poses for photos before the premiere of the documentary “Miss Americana” at the Eccles Theatre in Park City on Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020. After taking Swift to court alleging trademark infringement over her newest album, “Evermore,” a Utah theme park of the same name is now facing allegations that it was the one to improperly borrow from Swift.

Laura Seitz, Deseret News

Attorneys for Taylor Swift say a Utah theme park has it wrong.

Evermore Park in Pleasant Grove took the singer to court alleging trademark infringement over her newest album, “Evermore,” earlier this month. Now, Swift’s legal team, which has called that suit “baseless,” is now leveling its own allegations that the park improperly borrowed from Swift.

The whimsical Utah attraction had employees regularly perform her songs — including “Love Story,” “You Belong With Me” and “Bad Blood” — even though the park didn’t obtain permission to do so, attorneys with TAS Rights Management argued in the counter lawsuit filed Monday in federal court in Nashville.

“These unlawful musical performances are marketed as a central attraction of Evermore Park,” the lawsuit claims.

It accuses Evermore Park CEO Ken Bretschneider of recently seeking a retroactive license agreement “in (a) thinly veiled attempt to cover up and paper over” the infringement that had taken place since 2018, when the park opened.

BMI, the performing rights organization, notified the park over multiple years that the performances were copyright infringement, but the park ignored the notices, the suit says.

Bretschneider and his attorney, Jared Cherry, did not immediately return phone messages left Thursday.

His earlier lawsuit against Swift alleges that the singer borrowed from the park’s marketing efforts, stirring “actual confusion” among its patrons. And it contends Swift’s attorneys ignored prior legal claims under the belief that the park, hit financially in the pandemic, couldn’t afford to pursue a lawsuit.

Swift’s legal team has called the claims “baseless,” and said the Utah business in fact benefitted from the association, cheering the album on Twitter at the time of its release.

Swift’s publicist, Tree Paine, has pointed out that several contractors who had a role in the park’s construction have sued Bretschneider and Evermore over lack of payment.

“The true intent of this lawsuit should be obvious,” Paine said in a statement to the Deseret News earlier this month.

Evermore Park opened in 2018 to an enthusiastic reception, and has generated buzz as a unique escape. Its paths bring visitors through gardens, a crypt and a graveyard, where they encounter actors playing the roles of mythical creatures, fortune tellers and pirates.