Taylor Swift Shakes Off 'Shake It Off' Lawsuit

Copyright infringement suit dropped weeks before trial
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 11, 2022 12:04 PM CDT
Updated Dec 13, 2022 6:02 PM CST
UPDATE Dec 13, 2022 6:02 PM CST

Taylor Swift has finally shaken off the long-running lawsuit over lyrics in her hit "Shake It Off." Songwriters Sean Hall and Nathan Butler, who claimed Swift copied their line "Playas, they gonna play, and haters, they gonna hate," told a judge Monday that they are dropping their 2017 copyright infringement lawsuit in its entirety with prejudice, meaning it can't be refiled, reports Reuters. The filing did not mention any settlement and lawyers for both sides declined to comment, the New York Times reports. The case had been due to go to trial on Jan. 17. In court filings, Swift said she hadn't heard "Playas Gon' Play," a 2001 3LW song written by Hall and Butler, until the lawsuit over her 2014 song was filed.

Aug 11, 2022 12:04 PM CDT

Taylor Swift says she never heard 3LW's song "Playas Gon' Play" until she was sued for allegedly copying it. In a court declaration, Swift, who was 11 when the song became a minor hit in 2001, said she wasn't allowed to watch MTV until she was a teenager and never heard the song "on the radio, on television, or in any film," the Washington Post reports. Her mother, Andrea Swift, said in the filing that she "carefully monitored both the television she watched and the music she heard," per Pitchfork. "Taylor did not attend sleepovers at friends’ houses as a young girl because we lived on a farm until she was 10 years old and I always preferred having friends come over to our home," she wrote.

In a copyright lawsuit that has dragged on for nearly as long as the eternal antagonism between players and haters, "Playas Gon' Play" songwriters Sean Hall and Nathan Butler accuse Swift of stealing their lyrics for her 2014 hit "Shake It Off," which has the line "Players gonna play, play, play, play, play, and haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate." The 3LW song has the line "Playas, they gonna play, and haters, they gonna hate." In 2018, a judge decided the lyrics were too "unoriginal" to warrant copyright protection, but the appeal is now headed for a jury trial.

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In her declaration, Swift said she often heard "phrases about players play and haters hate" from other children when she was growing up in Pennsylvania. "These phrases were akin to other commonly used sayings like ‘don’t hate the playa, hate the game,’ ‘take a chill pill,’ and ‘say it, don’t spray it," she wrote, noting that she wore an Urban Outfitters "haters gonna hate" T-shirt at a concert in 2013, the year before "Shake It Off" came out. She said she wrote the song entirely by herself, drawing on experiences including "unrelenting public scrutiny" of her personal life. Hall and Butler argue that the phrase was "completely original and unique" when they wrote it. (More Taylor Swift stories.)

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