A spokesperson for Taylor Swift has fired back at allegations made by an artist who accused the singer of using her watercolor image of a fox without permission, insisting they made a "fair payment" to her.
In October (15), the Shake It Off star took to her popular social media accounts to post fan-made art of an illustrated red fox, along with lyrics to her song I Know Places.
Artist Ally Burguieres, who is the original artist of the fox image, was shocked to see her art being used by Swift, but suspected another fan, who signed the art in the corner and dated it in 2014, simply traced her illustration to use for her Swift-themed art.
But the singer shared the work with her millions of social media followers using her album's hashtag, prompting Burguieres to accuse her of using the art for commercial gain. Swift later removed the image from all her accounts.
In an open letter, Burguieres wrote, "While I wondered why no one had sought permission or offered compensation to do so, I recognized that such endorsement is a once-in-a-lifetime boost for an artist and can skyrocket an artist's career."
Burguieres claimed she reached out to Swift's management officials about the image and received a four-figure payout, but they insisted the cash would have to be donated to charity and Burguieres would not receive credit for the picture.
"The copy had been shared and downloaded countless times, and it seemed neither you nor your team intended on correcting the mistake," Burguieres wrote in her letter to Swift. "Taylor, as a professional, would you agree to such terms... My work is my living - it is how I pay bills and support my family and employees... I simply hope to see your actions fall more in line with the values you claim to hold."
A representative for Swift has since come forward to defend the pop star, noting that instead of going to the singer's team with the matter, Burguieres chose to write the open letter online.
"At no time during these postings did Ms. Burguieres contact our office directly," a rep for Swift says in a statement to WENN. "Notwithstanding the huge publicity this has generated for Ms. Burguieres and her store, in early November, Ms. Swift's office made a fair offer of payment, well above a reasonable licensing fee for the short time that the fan art was posted online.
"The offer was for a payment to Ms. Burguieres - there was no requirement of a contribution to any charity. Her lawyer further advised us that Ms. Burguieres chose to go after Taylor only, and not against the woman who has admitted she used Ms. Burguieres' work as inspiration. Ms. Burguieres' lawyer acknowledged Ms. Swift's action was unintentional, but rejected the offer. She promised to get back to us with an explanation of why she felt Ms. Burguieres was entitled to more money, but she never did that and the next we heard was Ms. Burguieres' new posting."
The rep concluded, "We have tried on multiple occasions to address Ms. Burguieres' concerns, but these actions make it clear to us that this is just an unfortunate effort to extract more money and more publicity."