Two songwriters had claimed that the chorus of Swift's song had been stolen from their 2000 song 'Playas Gon' Play', written for short-lived group 3LW.
A judge in California has thrown out a lawsuit filed against Taylor Swift for copyright infringement brought by two songwriters who claimed that she had ripped off lyrics of their song for Swift’s 2014 hit ‘Shake It Off’.
Songwriting duo Sean Hall and Nathan Butler argued in their lawsuit, which they brought last summer, that Swift had stolen lyrics from their 2000 song ‘Playas Gon’ Play’, written for the American girl group 3LW, for ‘Shake It Off’, which became an international megahit for Swift four years ago.
The 3LW song has lyrics that read: “Playas, they gonna play / And haters, they gonna hate”. Compare that to the chorus to Swift’s hit single, which goes, “‘Cause the players gonna play, play, play / And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate.”
Taylor Swift performing live in 2017
Dismissing the claim and siding with Swift, Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald said that the phrase was “too banal” to copyright. The claimants, however, have until February 26th to amend their lawsuit.
Fitzgerald, in rather withering remarks as reported by The Guardian and other outlets, did not think that either artist’s lyrics were particularly brilliant or original.
He wrote: “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. The alleged infringed lyrics are short phrases that lack the modicum of originality and creativity required for copyright protection.”
Last year, Swift’s spokespeople slammed the lawsuit, calling it a “ridiculous claim and nothing more than a money grab”. They added, “The law is simple and clear. They do not have a case.”
This isn’t the first time that Swift has had to fend off a claim for copyright infringement as a result of ‘Shake It Off’. Three years ago, recording artist Jesse Graham issued a $42 million lawsuit against Swift, claiming that her song lifted from his track 'Haters Gone Hate'.
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