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News December 10, 2021

Taylor Swift to face jury trial in ‘Shake It Off’ copyright lawsuit

Taylor Swift to face jury trial in ‘Shake It Off’ copyright lawsuit

Taylor Swift must face trial in the ‘Shake It Off’ copyright lawsuit according a new ruling by a federal judge. 

The pop star will face a jury trial to determine whether she stole the lyrics to her 2014 hit from another song that also references “playas” and “haters”, as per Billboard.

U.S. District Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald refused Swift’s request to throw out the case, ruling that a jury might possibly decide that her she had actually infringed a copyright to ‘Playas Gon’ Play’, a track released all the way back in 2001 by the group 3LW.

Although he acknowledged there are “some noticeable differences” between the two songs, the judge determined there were “enough objective similarities” that meant the case could not be dismissed by him alone. The judge said Swift’s defence would present “a strong closing argument” for an eventual jury trial, but that she would still need to face one.

The case against Swift dates back to 2017 when Sean Hall and Nathan Butler, the songwriters behind ‘Playas Gon’ Play’, filed their claim. In their song, the line goes ‘playas, they gonna play’ and ‘haters, they gonna hate’, while in Swift’s song, the line is ‘Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play and the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate’.

Following Thursday’s decision, Hall and Butler’s attorney praised the ruling. “Our clients are finally moving closer to the justice they so richly deserve,” said Marina Bogorad, an attorney at the firm Gerard Fox Law PC. “The opinion … is especially gratifying to them because it reinforces the idea that their creativity and unique expression cannot be misappropriated without any retribution.”

Swift’s attorney hasn’t offered a response at the time of writing and a date has not been set for the jury trial yet.

‘Shake It Off’ was a success for Swift. It debuted atop the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 in September 2014, spending four weeks at number one. ‘Playas Gon’ Play’ wasn’t as big a hit for girl group 3LW, peaking at number 81 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.

This article originally appeared on The Industry Observer, which is now part of The Music Network.

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