Taylor Swift and her lawyers are asking a federal judge to call off a planned jury trial over allegations that she stole the lyrics to “Shake It Off” from an earlier song about “playas” and “haters,” arguing that the judge’s recent ruling against her was “unprecedented.”
According to Billboard.com, Two weeks after the court refused to dismiss a lawsuit that claims Swift lifted the lyrics from an earlier song called “Playas Gon’ Play” by the group 3LW, the star’s attorneys urged the judge to reconsider his own decision, a rare step that judges take only if they’ve clearly gotten something wrong.
Swift’s attorneys argued that the ruling rose to that level, warning that “no other court” had ever allowed such a case to proceed to trial.
“Plaintiffs could sue everyone who writes, sings, or publicly says ‘players gonna play’ and ‘haters gonna hate,’” wrote Swift’s attorney, Peter Anderson of the firm Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, in a Dec. 23 motion. “To permit that is unprecedented and cheats the public domain.”
The case against Swift was filed in 2017 by Sean Hall and Nathan Butler, the songwriters who wrote “Playas Gon’ Play.” In their 2001 song, the line was “playas, they gonna play” and “haters, they gonna hate”; in Swift’s track, she sings, “‘Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play and the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate.”
On Dec. 9, U.S. District Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald refused Swift’s request to toss out the case. The judge said the case was too close to call, and would thus need to be decided by a jury of Swift’s peers.
“Even though there are some noticeable differences between the works, there are also significant similarities in word usage and sequence/structure,” Judge Fitzgerald wrote at the time.
In the new filing seeking to overturn that ruling, Swift’s attorneys argued that Judge Fitzgerald had made a “clear error” in his analysis. Namely, they argued he had failed to apply copyright law’s so-called extrinsic test – the process where judges filter out material that isn’t covered by copyrights before they compare the two songs.
Jerrett Franklin is a singer/songwriter from Loretto, TN. After growing up in a small town, he moved to Nashville to pursue a music career. After writing for a few different artists in the area, he decided to branch out and give local music the spotlight. That is where the idea for Music On The Rox originated from. We are dedicated to shining a light on local music and giving a voice to those who aren’t being heard.