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Taylor Shakes Off Copyright Claim

We have reported on many occasions on the numerous lawsuits that have been filed against well-known musicians and some of their most famous songs, including the recent victory for Ed Sheeran against copying claim. One of those musicians was Taylor Swift who was facing a claim for copyright infringement in the USA in respect of possibly her most famous song, Shake It Off. The matter was due to come to trial in the middle of January but the case has now been dismissed in its entirety. The case was brought by songwriters Sean Hall and Nate Butler who claimed that Swift had stolen lyrics from their own song ‘Playas Gon’ Play’ to use in her hit track. In response Swift claimed that she had never heard this song, had written Shake It Off by herself and the phrase in question was a commonly used phrase which she had heard countless times and took to mean the act of shaking off negativity. The lawsuit was first filed in 2017 and on Monday was dismissed only a month before it was due to come to trial. The Judge dismissed the case entirely and ‘with prejudice’ which is an important element as it means that the case cannot be brought before the Court again by either Mr Hall or Mr Butler. The Court also ordered that each party was to pay their own legal costs. The case was dismissed on the joint stipulation of the parties which means that all parties agreed to the dismissal but, as is usual, it was not made clear whether a settlement had been reached between the parties and what the details of that settlement might be. It is not uncommon for cases to settle close to trial as the impending costs associated with the trial focus the minds of the parties but it appears that we shall never know what the terms of settlement were in this matter. On the face of it however it appears to be another victory for the famous artists being accused of copyright infringement of relatively little known songs. If you have any questions on the above, please do not hesitate to contact the team at McDaniels Law on 0191 281 4000 or legal@mcdanielslaw.com. in: Case Law, Copyright, Legal News, News

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