A lawsuit filed against Taylor Swift alleging she stole the lyrics of her 2014 song ‘Shake It Off’ has been revived by an appeals court. The lawsuit, which was filed in 2017, was dismissed in February 2018 by a federal judge in California. On Monday, a federal appeals court reversed that decision.
The lawsuit was filed by Sean Hall and Nathan Butler, a songwriting duo who claim that Swift’s ‘1989’ single ripped off the lyrics of their 2001 song ‘Playas Gon’ Play’, which was performed by the girl group 3LW.
The hook of ‘Shake It Off’ goes: “Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play/ And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate / Baby, I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake I shake it off, I shake it off.” Revisit the song below:
The lyrics of ‘Playas Gon’ Play’, on the other hand, go: “Playas, they gonna play / And haters, they gonna hate / Ballers, they gonna ball / Shot callers, they gonna call.”
The judge who dismissed the lawsuit, US District Court Judge Michael Fitzgerald, ruled last year that “the allegedly infringing lyrics are short phrases that lack the modicum of originality and creativity required for copyright protection”.
But the panel of three judges overruled Fitzgerald’s decision on the grounds that it took the district court as the final authority on “the worth of an expressive work”, sending the case back to the US district court for consideration.