Taylor Swift files to dismiss ‘Shake it Off’ lyrics lawsuit

Taylor Swift getty (SINGLE USE)
Photo credit: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

Players gonna play play play, haters gonna hate hate hate and plaintiffs gonna sue sue sue is the contention of Taylor Swift’s legal team, which is trying for the second time to dismiss a copyright infringement lawsuit, according to Page Six. The lawsuit, filed by Sean Hall and Nathan Butler, claims the superstar singer-songwriter plagiarized the lyrics of her smash hit “Shake it Off” from 3LW’s 2001 hit, “Playas Gon’ Play.” 

In a Dec. 3 filing, Swift’s lawyer, Peter Anderson, wrote that were the suit considered, “Plaintiffs could sue everyone who writes, sings, or publicly says ‘players gonna play’ and ‘haters gonna hate,” and that the lawsuit “cheats the public domain.” Hall and Butler’s attorney countered that asking again that the suit be dismissed is solely because “Swift is unhappy with the ruling. She raised these arguments before, and they were rejected. The precedent is clear that such motions are routinely denied because the rules are not designed to give an unhappy litigant one additional chance to sway the judge. We are confident the Court will adhere to this precedent here.”

“Shake it Off”, the lead single off of Swift’s fifth studio album, 1989, was a massive hit in 2014, spending 50 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and four of those weeks at the number one spot. Hall and Butler filed their copyright suit in 2017, claiming Swift’s lyrics, “’Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play / And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate.” were stolen from 3lW’s lyric, “Playas, they gonna play / And haters, they gonna hate”. Swift’s legal team has maintained that the phrases are within the public domain and therefore unprotected.

In 2017 U.S. District Judge Michael Fitzgerald initially found that the lyrics “lacked sufficient originality to merit copyright protection,” and dismissed the case, but his decision was overturned by an appeals court in 2018. In 2020, the same judge ruled that Hall and Butler’s case had “sufficiently alleged a protectable selection and arrangement or a sequence of creative expression,” and the case once again proceeded.

A still of Taylor Swift performing

Hall and Butler are seeking a portion of the profits from Swift’s multi-million selling single. In a statement to Fox News, A lawyer for the songwriting duo said, “We represent two amazing lower-income black artists with pride. The motion filed by the Taylor Swift camp does not satisfy the legal conditions for reconsideration. They are sore losers and should, as she sings, ‘shake it off.'”