Taylor Swift’s ‘Shake It Off’ copyright court case to go ahead

The case, made by two songwriters, was thrown out in 2018 before recently being revived

A court case regarding Taylor Swift‘s 2014 song ‘Shake It Off’ is to go ahead, a Los Angeles judge has confirmed.

The case, brought forward by songwriters Sean Hall and Nathan Butler in 2017, alleges that Swift copied lyrics from the pair’s 2001 song ‘Playas Gon’ Play’, which they wrote for girl group 3LW.

The case was originally dismissed in February 2018, but the decision was then overturned last October by an appeals court.


Now, LA judge Michael Fitzgerald says that Hall and Butler “have sufficiently alleged a protectable selection and arrangement or a sequence of creative expression” and that the relevant parts of ‘Shake It Off’ that the pair have identified are “similar enough” to ‘Playas Gon’ Play’ for a court case to proceed.

The lawsuit concerns the chorus of ‘Shake It Off’, in which Swift sings: “Players gonna play, play, play, play, play” and “haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate,” while ‘Playas Gon’ Play’ reads: “Playas, they gonna play, and haters, they gonna hate.”

Taylor Swift Shake It Off copyright lawsuit revived
Taylor Swift in the video for her 2014 single ‘Shake It Off’.

Hall and Butler are seeking a share of profits from the song. In a statement shared with Billboard upon the reopening of the case last October, Hall spoke for the pair and said: “We are happy the court unanimously sided with us. We simply refuse to sit still and have our creative work be culturally appropriated as if it never existed. This case is giving voice to all of those creatives who can’t afford to stand up and protect their work in the face of well-financed Goliaths.”

Representatives for Swift then replied: “Mr. Hall is incorrect, the court did not unanimously side in their favour, the court sent the case back to the lower court for further determination.”

The singer’s team also said that they considered ‘players gonna play’ and ‘haters gonna hate’ as “public domain cliches”. “These men are not the originators, or creators, of the common phrases ‘Players’ or ‘Haters’ or combinations of them,” a representative for Swift said.


“They did not invent these common phrases nor are they the first to use them in a song. We are confident the true writers of ‘Shake It Off’ will prevail again. Their claim is not a crusade for all creatives, it is a crusade for Mr. Hall’s bank account.”

Meanwhile, a Taylor Swift fan has shown off their dedication to the singer by designing an incredible theme park based around a selection of the singer’s albums.

Matthew Ables, a theme park enthusiast and huge fan of the pop star, designed the incredibly detailed plan while stuck at home during the coronavirus lockdown.

The fantasy attraction, which Ables showed off in a YouTube video, features seven lands inspired by albums including ‘Debut’, ‘Fearless’, ‘Red’, ‘Reputation’ and ‘1989’.

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