Taylor Swift is not willing to shake off accusations that she’s a song thief.
“Reputation” songstress Swift fired back at a copyright infringement lawsuit filed against her over her 2014 hit “Shake it Off” on Wednesday, asking that the suit be dismissed.
Swift was sued in September by songwriters Sean Hall and Nathan Butler, who contended that “Shake it Off ” infringes on their 2001 song “Playas Gon’ Play,” record by girl group 3LW.
The suit states, “‘Shake It Off’ copies and includes Plaintiff’s lyrics phrase, ‘Playas, they gonna play / And haters, they gonna hate’ by featuring the lyrical phrase ‘Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play and the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate’ prominently throughout the chorus of ‘Shake it Off.’ In all, the infringed copyrighted material accounts for roughly 20 percent of ‘Shake it Off.'”
But in Wednesday’s papers, Swift’s legal team said that the plaintiffs don’t hold on a monopoly on the concepts of players playing and haters hating.
“Plaintiffs admit that words such as players will play and haters will hate — which are simply nouns and their corresponding verbs — are not protected by copyright,” Wednesday’s court papers read. “Instead, plaintiffs allege that they are the first to combine players will play and haters will hate into the short phrase ‘playas, they gonna play, and haters, they gonna hate,’ and that — while anyone can say, e.g., players are going to play or haters are going to hate — plaintiffs’ claimed copyright prevents everyone else in the world from saying those world from saying these truisms together.”
However, Swift’s legal team says, “as a matter of black-letter copyright law, there is no copyright protection in plaintiffs’ alleged decision to combine players playing with haters hating.”
In short, don’t player-hate on Swift, because nobody can own the combined concepts.
At the time of the lawsuit’s filing, Swift’s spokesperson said in a statement to TheWrap, “This is a ridiculous claim and nothing more than a money grab. The law is simple and clear. They do not have a case.”
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.