Taylor Swift shakes off copyright lawsuit over hit song

From Reuters - February 13, 2018

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A lawsuit accusing singer Taylor Swift of stealing lyrics for her song Shake It Off was thrown out on Tuesday by a judge, who ruled the phrases in question were not sufficiently original to merit copyright protection.

Swifts 2014 song reached No. 1 on the pop charts and marked her evolution from country to pop music.

Two songwriters said in a copyright infringement lawsuit filed in federal court in Los Angeles last year that Swifts song was based on the phrase players, they gonna play, and haters, they gonna hate, that they coined for a 2001 song Playas Gon Play by R&B girl group 3LW.

Swifts lyrics from the chorus of Shake It Off are, the players gonna play, play, play, play, play, and the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate.

Attorneys for Swift asked U.S. District Judge Michael Fitzgerald in January to dismiss the case.

In order for such short phrases to be protected under the Copyright Act, they must be more creative than the lyrics at issue here, Fitzgerald ruled, according to court papers.

The songwriters who sued Swift - Sean Hall and Nathan Butler - did not allege Swifts song stole musical elements, the judge said, and phrases about players and haters existed in pop culture before 2001.

In short, combining two truisms about playas and haters, both well-worn notions as of 2001, is simply not enough, the judge said in his ruling.


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