Taylor Swift Headed To Court Over ‘Shake It Off’ Copyright Claim

(Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for MTV)

Katie Jerkovich Entertainment Reporter
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Taylor Swift will have to face a jury trial over copyright claims regarding one of her biggest hits, “Shake It Off,” after a judge refused to dismiss the case.

District Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald originally rejected copyright claims by the girl group 3LW over accusations that Swift had copied lyrics from their 2001 “Playas Gon’ Play” hit in her 2014 song “Shake It Off,” the BBC reported in a piece published Friday. (RELATED: Taylor Swift’s ‘Fearless’ (Taylor’s Version) Album Not Being Considered For Grammy Or CMA Awards)

Both songs include variations of the lines, “haters gonna hate” and “players gonna play.”

“In the early 2000s, popular culture was adequately suffused with the concepts of players and haters to render the phrases ‘playas… gonna play’ or ‘haters… gonna hate’, standing on their own, no more creative than ‘runners gonna run’; ‘drummers gonna drum’; or ‘swimmers gonna swim,'” the judge said. “The concept of actors acting in accordance with their essential nature is not at all creative; it is banal.” (RELATED: Taylor Swift Receives 6 Grammy Nominations)

“In sum, the lyrics at issue… are too brief, unoriginal, and uncreative to warrant protection under the Copyright Act,” he added.


Songwriters Sean Hall and Nathan Butler appealed and a federal appeals court reversed the decision. The case was sent back to Fitzgerald who said, despite “persuasive arguments” by Swift’s experts, the case would go to trial.

“Even though there are some noticeable differences between the works, there are also significant similarities in word usage and sequence/structure,” the justice wrote.

“The court cannot presently determine that no reasonable juror could find substantial similarity of lyrical phrasing, word arrangement, or poetic structure between the two works,” he added.

A date for the superstar singer’s trial has yet to be set.