US copyright lawsuit claiming Taylor Swift stole lyrics to her hit song Shake It Off has been dismissed by judge Michael Fitzgerald after five years of litigation. On Monday 13th, judge Michael Fitzgerald dismissed the lawsuit in its entirety and with prejudice, meaning it cannot be refiled by Sean Hall or Nathan Butler.
Swift stated she had never heard of the song Playas Gon’ Play or 3LW prior to the lawsuit. The lawsuit was filed by Sean Hall and Nathan Butler, the songwriters behind “Playas Gon’ Play,” a 2000 track by the R&B group 3LW that contains the lines “Playas, they gonna play; And haters, they gonna hate.” They accused Swift of using those lines without permission or credit on “Shake It Off,” which was released in 2014 and became one of Swift’s defining hits, notching four weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart.
Tailor Swift argued she had drawn from her own experiences and commonly used phrases and comments she had heard throughout her life for the song, and she had written all the lyrics “entirely” by herself. Taylor Swift stated: “In writing the lyrics, I drew partly on experiences in my life and in particular, unrelenting public scrutiny of my personal life, ‘clickbait’ reporting, public manipulation, and other forms of negative personal criticism which I learned I just needed to shake off and focus on my music.”
Weeks before a trial to determine whether Taylor Swift stole lyrics in her hit song “Shake It Off,” a judge dismissed the case on Monday after a joint request by lawyers for Swift and the songwriters who accused her of copyright infringement. The agreement means a sudden end for a blockbuster case that seemed headed toward the next landmark ruling on music copyrights. Following legal battles over Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” and Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven,” the case against Swift posed fundamental questions about the limits of copyright protection, with her lawyers arguing that the accusers were trying to “cheat the public domain” by monopolizing basic lyrical phrases.