Taylor Swift’s motion to dismiss Shake It Off copyright lawsuit granted by judge
Taylor Swift can once again breathe easy after a judge dismissed two songwriters’ copyright lawsuit over her hit Shake It Off.
The 28-year-old singer enjoyed massive chart success worldwide with the catchy tune, which includes the lines: “Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play/And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate.”
But in September (17), songwriting duo Sean Hall and Nathan Butler filed papers claiming they came up with the line in a hit song they penned 16 years ago. In the lawsuit, the accomplished songwriters alleged that 20 per cent of Shake It Off is their 2001 song Playas Gon’ Play, recorded by girl group 3LW, due to the lyrics “Playas, they gonna play and haters, they gonna hate” – and sought substantial financial damages from Swift.
Swift filed to dismiss the case earlier this year, and on Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Michael Fitzgerald agreed to do just that.
Fitzgerald looked at the lyrics of both songs as he analysed the case, and had to decide whether or not there was enough similarity between the two tunes’ protectable lyrics.
“The lynchpin of this entire case is thus whether or not the lyrics ‘Playas, they gonna play / And haters, they gonna hate’ are eligible for protection under the Copyright Act,” he wrote in his ruling. “By 2001, American popular culture was heavily steeped in the concepts of players, haters, and player haters… The concept of actors acting in accordance with their essential nature is not at all creative; it is banal.”
In his ruling, however, Fitzgerald did give Hall and Butler until 26 February if they wish to amend their complaint.
“The allegedly infringed lyrics are short phrases that lack the modicum of originality and creativity required for copyright protection,” he concluded. “While the Court is extremely sceptical that Plaintiffs will – in a manner consistent with Rule 11 – be able to rehabilitate their copyright infringement claim in an amended complaint, out of an abundance of forbearance it will give Plaintiffs a single opportunity to try.”
Following the original filing of the lawsuit, representatives for Swift hit back at the copyright claims, telling TMZ: “This is a ridiculous claim and nothing more than a money grab. The law is simple and clear. They do not have a case.”