Singer-songwriter Taylor Swift and her attorneys are trying to dodge the copyright lawsuit over her 2014 hit ‘Shake It Off.’ After a federal judge ruled that a copyright infringement case against the singer would go to trial, Swift’s lawyers are again asking him to dismiss the case in a new motion, requesting that U.S. District Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald reconsider his decision.
According to Entertainment Weekly, the lawsuit alleges that Taylor Swift copied lyrics from the 2000 song ‘Playas Gon’ Play’, recorded by the girl group 3LW. In court documents filed December 23, Swift’s attorneys argue that allowing the case to proceed would represent an “unprecedented” decision, noting that the judge’s order “does something that, as far [as] Defendants are aware, no other court has done, namely finding a potentially valid infringement claim in the use of two short public domain phrases along with allegedly similar ideas and concepts. Defendants respectfully submit that the ruling should be revisited.”
“Plaintiffs admitted, and it is undisputed, that the phrases ‘players gonna play’ and ‘haters gonna hate’ are unprotected and in the public domain,” the motion from Swift’s lawyers continued, adding that unless the case is dismissed, “Plaintiffs could sue everyone who writes, sings, or publicly says ‘players gonna play’ and ‘haters gonna hate,'” and “to permit that is unprecedented and ‘cheat[s] the public domain.'”
Songwriters Sean Hall and Nathan Butler, who penned ‘Playas Gon’ Play’, filed the lawsuit against Taylor Swift in 2017, arguing that the lines “the players gonna play, play, play, play, play and the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate” in ‘Shake It Off’ violated the 2000 song’s copyright.
Judge Fitzgerald previously dismissed the lawsuit in 2018, stating that a phrase like “haters gonna hate” is too “banal” to be protected under copyright. However, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the ruling a year later, sending the case back to the district court.
In his December 9 decision allowing the case to proceed, Fitzgerald wrote, “Even though there are some noticeable differences between the works, there are also significant similarities in word usage and sequence/structure,” and denied the defendants’ motion for a summary judgment.
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