Taylor Swift is headed to trial over claims that she stole the lyrics to the biggest single of her career, "Shake It Off."
District Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald in 2018 dismissed a case brought by songwriters Sean Hall and Nathan Butler, who said Swift stole from their song "Playas Gon' Play," a 2001 single released by girl group 3LW.While both songs include variations on the phrases "players gonna play" and "haters gonna hate," the judge then cited similar phrasing in other songs from various artists including Fleetwood Mac and the Notorious BIG.
A federal court reversal in October 2019 brought the case back to Fitzgerald, and last week he refused Swift's request to immediately rule in her favor.That means the case will head to a jury trial, though a date has not been set.
The judge wrote, "Even though there are some noticeable differences between the works, there are also significant similarities in word usage and sequence/structure". He added "the court cannot presently determine that no reasonable juror could find substantial similarity of lyrical phrasing, word arrangement, or poetic structure between the two works."
Still, he saidSwift's lawyers would have "a strong closing argument" at trial.
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