In September 2017, two songwriters filed a lawsuit against Taylor Swift claiming she ripped off the lyrics to one of their song when she wrote Shake It Off. That lawsuit is no more. I guess you could say Taylor was able to (lowers glasses) shake it off.
Sean Hall and Nathan Butler, the writers of the 2001 song by 3LW Playas Gon Play believed their chorus about players playing and haters hating was just a little too similar to Taylor’s chorus about players playing and haters hating. Taylor’s lawyers argued that the phrases are too short to get legal protection on, and therefore didn’t belong to anybody. They asked for the lawsuit to be dismissed.
According to CNBC, U.S. District Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald agreed with Team Taylor and threw out the lawsuit on Tuesday. Judge Fitzgerald stated that players playing and haters hating existed in pop culture long before 2001, when they wrote their song, and that the lyrics are too “banal or trivial” to be considered a rip-off.
“The concept of actors acting in accordance with their essential nature is not at all creative; it is banal. 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.'”
Judge Fitzgerald added that “combining two truisms about playas and haters is simply not enough.” CNBC says that wording was Judge Fitzgerald’s way of leaving the door open for Sean and Nathan to file a revised lawsuit if they so choose.
An attorney for Sean and Nathan, Gerard Fox, made it known that they had no intention of filing an amended complaint, and instead would be appealing Judge Fitzgerald’s decision. Gerard Fox is arguing that Judge Fitzgerald made a mistake by assessing the lyrics without an expert, saying: “He cannot make himself an expert in the music industry, I’m sorry it’s actually embarrassing.”
What’s embarrassing is that judge calling Taylor Swift’s lyrics too banal to be taken seriously. Especially for a goody-goody good girl like Taylor. Although it was probably much less embarrassing once her assistant informed her it was actually pronounced “bah-nahl,” and that she was safe to unclutch her pearls.