Taylor Swift Faces Copyright Lawsuit for ‘Shake It Off’

On December 9, a California judge ruled that Taylor Swift must face jury trial due to copyright claims over chart-topping single ‘Shake It Off.’ 

Taylor Swift faces a copyright suit over her 2014 hit single ‘Shake It Off.’ | IMG Source: Billboard

U.S. District Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald refused to toss that case. He said that a jury might eventually conclude that her 2014 hit single infringed 3LW’s 2001 song entitled ‘Playas Gon’ Play.’ The judge noted that he could not dismiss the  case himself as there were “some noticeable differences” between the songs yet there were also “enough objective similarities.” 

The case was initially filed by Sean Hall and Nathan Butler back in 2017. The line from their song was “playas, they gonna play” and “haters, they gonna hate.” In her song, Swift sings, “Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play and the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate.” 

In 2018, Judge Fitzgerald dismissed the lawsuit saying that Hall and Butler’s lyrics lacked the rubric of originality and creativity. Thus, ineligible for copyright protection. The judge cited 13 different songs that had similar phrases. A year later, the federal court said that Fitzgerald dismissed the case too early as the song was eligible for copyright protection. Now, it’s sent back to the same judge for new proceedings. 

Swift’s party has yet to release a statement regarding the new suit. In 2017, her representatives said that the claim was “ridiculous” and “nothing more than a money grab.”

Upon hearing about the jury trial, Hall and Butler commended the ruling, saying the court “did the right thing.” 

Leave a Reply