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Judge Dismisses ‘Shake It Off’ Copyright Lawsuit Against Taylor Swift

U.S. District Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald dismissed a copyright lawsuit filed by songwriters Sean Hall and Nate Butler claiming Taylor Swift lifted lyrics for her “Shake It Off” from their track “Playas Gon’ Play.” The lawsuit was set to head to trial in January 2023.

According to Variety, the two parties had “reached an agreement” and jointly asked for the case to be dismissed.

“Pursuant to the parties’ Stipulation, this action is hereby dismissed, in its entirety and with prejudice, Plaintiffs and Defendants to bear their respective attorney’s fees and costs,” the filing read.

The judge, who had previously rejected the case, said in his original ruling that the lyrics were too “banal” to be copyrighted.

Following an appeal by Hall and Butler against the ruling, a federal appeals court reversed the judge’s decision and sent the case back to Judge Fitzgerald.

In August this year, Swift filed her own legal declaration in which she discussed the origins of “Shake It Off” and denied any copyright infringement. In the filing, Swift claimed she was improvising the lyrics and insisted that she hadn’t heard 3LW’s “Playas Gon’ Play” before the suit was filed. 

“In writing the lyrics, I drew partly on experiences in my life and, in particular, unrelenting public scrutiny of my personal life, ‘clickbait’ reporting, public manipulation, and other forms of negative personal criticism which I learned I just needed to shake off and focus on my music,” Swift wrote. “Prior to writing ‘Shake it Off,’ I had heard the phrases ‘players gonna play’ and ‘haters gonna hate’ uttered countless times to express the idea that one should shrug off negativity.”

(Photo: Valheria Rocha)

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