Taylor Swift has ‘Shake It Off’ copyright lawsuit dismissed before trial

The move comes more than five years after Swift was first sued for allegedly plagiarising two songwriters

Taylor Swift has emerged victorious in a lawsuit accusing her of copyright infringement, with those that filed it agreeing to dismiss the case before it headed to trial.

The move comes more than five years after Swift was first sued by Sean Hall and Nathan Butler, two songwriters (with résumés boasting the likes of Pink and Justin Bieber) who’d long argued that the pop star plagiarised them when she wrote her 2014 hit ‘Shake It Off’.

Their initial suit, filed in September of 2017, alleged that Swift stole lyrics from their song ‘Playas Gon’ Play’, originally written in 2001 for American girl group 3lw. That case was dismissed by a federal judge in February of 2018, however the ruling was overturned in October 2019 (with Swift’s reps asserting her innocence).


The case picked up further steam in September 2020, and in December 2021, after it was ruled that Swift would face a jury trial over Hall and Butler’s claims. That same month, the artist’s lawyers filed to have the suit dismissed once again; they were unsuccessful.

Swift was finally due to sit trial next month, however in an unexpected turn of events, Hall and Butler have switched focus, filing yesterday (December 12) to have the case thrown out by the courts.

According to Rolling Stone, the pair asked for an order to “[dismiss] the action in its entirety”. US District judge Michael Fitzgerald reportedly obliged, dismissing it with prejudice (meaning Hall and Butler will not be able to refile their claims, should they have another change of heart). No reason was given was given for the pair’s move to scrap the suit.

Swift herself addressed the controversy back in August, writing in a formal statement that “the lyrics to ‘Shake It Off’ were written entirely by [her]”. She explained: “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.”

With this lawsuit dismissed, Swift can keep focusing on her slew of upcoming projects – including a sprawling world tour in support of her recent ‘Midnights’ album (more tickets for which were made available today), her ongoing series of self-directed “music movies” (for which she’s so far released clips for ‘Anti-Hero’ and ‘Bejeweled’), and her debut feature film as a writer and director.

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