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Taylor Swift Fails To Shake Off Copyright Claim

Taylor Swift is one of the latest in a long line of famous musicians to face a claim of copyright infringement in respect of one of their most famous songs. In the case of Swift, she faced a claim that her song ‘Shake It Off’ copied a 2001 song ‘Playas Gon’ Play’ written by Sean Hall and Nathan Butler. Swift had applied to the court in Los Angeles to have the case dismissed but this was rejected and Swift will now face a jury trial. The case was originally issued in 2017 in respect of the lyrics in Swift’s song that ‘Players gonna play’ and ‘Haters gonna hate’. The song by Hall and Butler features the lines ‘Playas, they gonna play’ and ‘Haters, they gonna hate’. Swift had sought to have the case dismissed on the basis that the lyrics in dispute were based on phrases in the public domain and were not copied from Hall and Butler’s song. This request was dismissed by the Judge (some nine months after the request was made) on the basis that there was a genuine issue of fact to be considered particularly in light of expert evidence put forward by both parties. For their part Hall and Butler maintained that even were it the case that the phrases were in the public domain now, that was not the case when their song was released in 2001. The judge deciding on this request may have been swayed by the fact that he had previously dismissed the case on the basis that the lyrics were not original, only to have that decision overturned by an appeals court and the case returned to him. Given this background, it was always unlikely that the judge would make a similar finding on this issue. If you have any questions arising from this story please do not hesitate to contact the team at McDaniels Law on 0191 281 4000 or by email at legal@mcdanielslaw.com. in: Copyright

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