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Taylor Swift: Songwriters may have a case in ‘Shake It Off’ copyright lawsuit, judge rules

Two writers are claiming Swift stole their lyrics

Ellie Harrison
Monday 07 September 2020 11:27 BST
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Taylor Swift: Songwriters may have a case in ‘Shake It Off’ copyright lawsuit, judge rule

An LA judge has decided two songwriters who claim Taylor Swift copied their lyrics for her mega-hit “Shake It Off” might have a case against her.

Michael Fitzgerald said that Sean Hall and Nathan Butler “have sufficiently alleged a protectable selection and arrangement or a sequence of creative expression” and Swift’s “use as alleged is similar enough” for the case to go ahead.

Hall and Butler have alleged that the chorus to “Shake It Off”, which saw Swift sing that “players gonna play, play, play, play, play” and “haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate”, infringed on the copyright of a track they wrote for the defunct girl group 3LW in 2001.

“Playas Gon’ Play” by 3LW featured the lyrics “Playas, they gonna play, and haters, they gonna hate.”

Swift’s defence lawyers previously claimed that the concept of players playing and haters hating are “public domain cliches”, citing a number of tracks by artists including Fleetwood Mac and The Notorious B.I.G, who also used variations of the phrases.

Taylor Swift performs in 2019 (Getty Images)

Hall and Butler are seeking a share of the profits from the song. Earlier this year, “Shake It Off” got a diamond certification from the RIAA (The Recording Industry Association of America) after sales and streams of the song exceeded 10 million units in the United States.

The singer’s representatives have called Hall and Butler’s lawsuit a “money grab”.

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