Pop star Taylor Swift is being accused of stealing the words to her hit song "Shake It Off". As a result she is being sued for approximately $42m (£24m).
U.S. based R&B singer Jesse Braham has filed a lawsuit claiming Swift lifted the words from a song he wrote in 2013 called "Haters Gone Hate." In addition to financial compensation, Braham wants his name added as a writer on Swift's song.
According to legal papers, Braham is claiming copyright infringement in the phrases "haters gone hate" and "playas gone play", which appear in the chorus of Swift's song. The chorus to Braham's work features the line: "Haters gone hate, playas gone play. Watch out for them fakers, they'll fake you everyday."
Putting aside the lyrical likeness in the chorus, the two songs share little else in common. Braham, however, is firm in his belief that he has a strong case. Defending his case, Braham told the NY News Daily "Her hook is the same hook as mine. If I didn't write the song Haters Gone Hate, there wouldn't be a song called Shake It Off." Braham claims that he only noticed the similarity when Swift performed the award winning song on the Ellen DeGeneres Show.
Since then the R&B artist has contacted Swift's record label companies, Sony and Big Machine, to demand monetary compensation for the apparent infringement and to be recognised as an author to the lyrics. In reference to Braham's legal claim against Taylor Swift, a legal source told celebrity commentator, Perez Hilton, "Mr Braham, who is representing himself, cannot claim copyright protection for the phrases "haters gone hate" and "playas gone play" because the Copyright Act does not protect short phrases and these phrases are not original to him. In addition and most damning to Mr Braham's claim, the two songs have absolutely nothing in common".
According to Michael Einhorn, an expert witness who specialises in intellectual property cases, Braham faces an uphill battle. He said Swift's lawyers will have many defences available to them, including that she is allowed to use lyrics that might appear in other songs under copyright's "fair use" doctrine.
Representatives for Swift have yet to officially comment.Posted by: in: Case Law, Copyright, News