After five years, Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” copyright action was withdrawn
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After five years, Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” copyright action was withdrawn

The New York Times reports that a court dismissed the lawsuit on Monday, just weeks before it was scheduled to go to trial, at the request of Swift and the songwriter’s Sean Hall and Nathan Butler, who had accused Swift of copyright infringement. According to the Times story, there were no specifics or mentions of a settlement between the parties in the “short document.”

Swift’s representatives did not instantly reply to EW’s request for comment.

The dismissal puts an end to a five-year legal dispute over “Shake It Off,” the first single from Taylor Swift’s album 1989. The lyrics “the players going to play, play, play, play” and “the haters going to hate, hate, hate, hate” in “Shake It Off,” according to Hall and Butler, who wrote “Playas Gon’ Play” by the R&B group 3LW, breached their song’s copyright. They sued Swift in 2017. “Playas, they going to play / And haters, they going to hate,” is a line from the song “Playas Gon’ Play.” The complaint was dismissed in 2018 by a judge who claimed that a term like “haters going to hate” is too “banal” to be covered by copyright. The judge also mentioned how identical lines are used in a number of other songs, including Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” and Notorious B.I.G.’s “Playa Hater.”

A year later, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the decision, returning the case to the district court, where it was ultimately decided that a trial would take place. Swift’s attorneys asked U.S. District Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald to review his ruling last December and asked him to dismiss the case once more in a new motion.

Swift’s attorneys argued in court documents at the time that allowing the case to go forward would be “unprecedented,” noting that “plaintiffs admitted, and it is undisputed, that the phrases ‘players going to play and ‘haters going to hate are unprotected and in the public domain,” and unless the case is dismissed, “plaintiffs could sue everyone who writes, sings, or publicly says ‘players going to play and ‘Swift has been working on re-recording her older albums in an effort to acquire all the masters of her music. She recently released her 10th original studio album, Midnights, and is currently organizing her Eras tour.

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