A federal appeals panel Monday revived a Los Angeles lawsuit brought by a pair of songwriters who claimed that Taylor Swift lifted lyrics from their 2001 recording as the basis for her 2014 smash hit “Shake It Off.”
A lower-court judge dismissed the suit in February 2018 after finding there was not enough similarity between the Taylor hit and the obscure 2001 composition, “Playas Gon’ Play,” by Sean Hall and Nathan Butler.
The songwriters argued in their complaint that Swift’s lyrics, “Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play and the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate,” were based on the phrases “playas gonna play” and “haters gonna hate” from the earlier song.
The plaintiffs had sought a share of the profits from Swift’s hit. According to the lawsuit, more than 9 million copies of the song had been sold, along with 6 million copies of Swift’s album “1989,” and the video for the song had nearly 2.4 billion views on YouTube.
When the suit was filed, Swift’s representatives called it “a ridiculous claim and nothing more than a money grab. The law is simple and clear. They do not have a case.”
The lawsuit was remanded back to a Los Angeles federal courtroom for retrial.