Taylor Swift to face trial over Shake It Off song
Pop star Taylor Swift will face a jury trial over accusations she stole lyrics for the hit 2014 single Shake It Off from a song released in 2001 by a popular girl group.
The track she is accused of stealing the lyrics from is 3LW’s song Playas Gon’ Play. Both songs include variations of the phrases “players gonna play” and “haters gonna hate”.
The judge had initially rejected the case stating the lyrics were too “banal” to be copyrighted.
In the original ruling, District Judge Michael W Fitzferald cited 13 earlier songs that had similar phrases – including smash hits from Fleetwood Mac and The Notorious B.I.G.
“In the early 2000s, popular culture was adequately suffused with the concepts of players and haters to render the phrases ‘playas… gonna play’ or ‘haters… gonna hate’, standing on their own, no more creative than ‘runners gonna run’; ‘drummers gonna drum’; or ‘swimmers gonna swim,'” he wrote.
“The concept of actors acting in accordance with their essential nature is not at all creative; it is banal.
“In sum, the lyrics at issue… are too brief, unoriginal, and uncreative to warrant protection under the Copyright Act.”
But songwriters Sean Hall and Nathan Butler appealed against the ruling and a federal appeals court reversed his decision.
The case has now been sent back to Judge Fitzgerald. Taylor Swift had asked for a summary judgement – an immediate ruling that she had not infringed copyright – but on Thursday he refused.
“Even though there are some noticeable differences between the works, there are also significant similarities in word usage and sequence/structure,” he wrote.
He added that “the court cannot presently determine that no reasonable juror could find substantial similarity of lyrical phrasing, word arrangement, or poetic structure between the two works”.
The song Playas Gon’ Play wasn’t a big hit for the band 3LW. Songwriter Hall has gone on to write and produce for artists such as Justin Bieber and Butler has gone on to work with acts including Backstreet Boys.
Shake It Off is Taylor’s biggest-selling single.
A date for the trial has not yet been announced.
Taylor Swift Shake It Off lyrics
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