LOS ANGELES — A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit accusing singer Taylor Swift of stealing lyrics for her song ‘Shake It Off’ on Tuesday ruling the phrases in question were not sufficiently original to merit copyright protection.
Songwriters Sean Hall and Nathan Butler brought the suit last fall, arguing that the chorus of the song borrowed from their 2001 composition, ‘Playas Gon’ Play’.
In his ruling, Judge Michael W Fitzgerald held that combining the phrases, ‘Playas gonna play’ and ‘haters gonna hate,’ does not entail sufficient originality to warrant copyright protection, Variety reported.
Swift’s 2014 song reached No 1 on the pop charts and marked her evolution from country to pop music.
Swift’s lyrics from the chorus of ‘Shake It Off’ are, ‘the players gonna play, play, play, play, play, and the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate.’
Attorneys for Swift asked US District Judge Michael Fitzgerald in January to dismiss the case.
“In order for such short phrases to be protected under the Copyright Act, they must be more creative than the lyrics at issue here,” Fitzgerald ruled, according to court papers.
The songwriters who sued Swift did not allege Swift’s song stole musical elements, the judge said, and phrases about players and haters existed in pop culture before 2001.