Taylor Swift tries to shake off lyric infringement suit


Alex Baldwin

Taylor Swift tries to shake off lyric infringement suit

Brian Friedman / Shutterstock.com

Taylor Swift has moved for a summary judgment to throw out a lawsuit that accuses her of infringing lyrics in her chart-topping single “Shake it Off”.

The suit, bought by songwriters Sean Hall and Nathan Butler in 2017, claims that Swift copied lyrics from their song “Playas Gon’ Play” performed by all-girl group 3LW in 2001.

The specific lyrics in dispute are “Playas, they gonna play / And haters, they gonna hate”, which is featured in the chorus of “Shake it Off” and Hall and Butler’s track.

Swift had already filed a summary judgment with the US District Court for the Central District of California, in which the court agreed that the lyrics in the song were not original or protectable.

But this initial summary judgment was later overturned following an appeal to the Ninth Circuit in 2019, giving Hall and Butler another chance to pursue their case.

Swift filed her second motion for summary judgment on the lawsuit on Monday, July 19 on the grounds that Hall and Butler had failed to prove a “genuine dispute of material fact”.

“Copyright infringement requires, among other things, the copying of protected expression, and there is no genuine dispute that Plaintiffs’ claim of copying fails under this Circuit’s extrinsic test,” the motion said.

‘Shake it Off’ suits

Hall and Butler are not the only ones to take action against Swift over “Shake it Off”.

A California-based songwriter Jesse Graham said that Swift’s single infringed on his song “Haters gon’ Hate”, which he wrote in 2013.

Graham has sued Swift twice alleging infringement of the song in the Central California court, first in 2015 and for a second time in 2019.

Graham claimed that Swift “extensively copied” his composition, claiming his composition accounts for roughly 20% of Swift’s song, particularly the chorus.

The 2015 suit—which requested $42 million in damages for the infringement—was later dismissed by the court. The second copyright suit is still ongoing.

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Taylor Swift, 3LW, Sean Hall, Nathan Butler, US District Court for the Central District of California,