Taylor Swift has ‘Shake It Off’ copyright lawsuit dismissed
But the plaintiffs can amend their complaint
A copyright lawsuit filed against Taylor Swift has been dismissed by a federal judge in California.
Swift was facing legal action from two songwriters who alleged that she stole from their song ‘Playas Gon’ Play’ for her 2014 anthem ‘Shake It Off’.
Sean Hall and Nathan Butler, a songwriting duo who originally wrote the 2001 hit for American girl group 3lw and have also worked with the likes of Justin Bieber and Pink, cited apparent similarities between the lyrics as a key foundation for their lawsuit.
The lyrics to their song include: “Playas, they gonna play/ And haters, they gonna hate.” In contrast, Swift’s 2014 chorus goes: “Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play/ And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate.”
US District Judge Michael Fitzgerald has now granted Swift’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit, but is allowing the plaintiffs to amend their complaint with more cited similarities by February 26.
“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,” Fitzgerald writes.
“[B]y 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.”
“The allegedly infringed lyrics are short phrases that lack the modicum of originality and creativity required for copyright protection,” adds Fitzgerald.
“While the Court is extremely skeptical 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.”
Responding to the allegations previously, a spokesperson for Swift had said that it was a “money grab”. “This is a ridiculous claim and nothing more than a money grab. The law is simple and clear. They do not have a case”, they wrote.
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