Taylor Swift must face trial in Shake it Off infringement suit, judge rules

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Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift
Photo: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images
  • A judge has ruled that Taylor Swift must face a jury trial for the copyright lawsuit against her. 
  • The infringement suit was filed over claims of similarities between Taylor's 2014 hit Shake It Off and 3LW's 2001 song Playas Gon' Play.
  • Judge Fitzgerald stated that though there are "some noticeable differences" between the two songs, there were "enough objective similarities" that he could not dismiss the case.


A US federal judge has ruled that Taylor Swift must face a jury trial for the copyright lawsuit against her. 

The infringement suit was filed by Sean Hall and Nathan Butler over claims of similarities between Taylor's 2014 hit Shake It Off and 3LW's 2001 song Playas Gon' Play which Sean and Nathan wrote.

According to Billboard, District Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald refused Taylor's request to throw out the case, stating that though there are "some noticeable differences" between the two songs, there were "enough objective similarities" that he could not dismiss the case.

In Taylor's Shake It Off, she sings: "Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play/ And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate."

While in 3LW's Playa's Gon' Play, the group sings: "Playas, they gonna play/Haters, they gonna hate."

Sean and Nathan sued Taylor in 2017, but Judge Fitzgerald dismissed the case in 2018, saying the Playas Gon' Play lyrics were "too brief, unoriginal, and uncreative to warrant protection under the Copyright Act", Forbes writes.

In 2019, the ruling was reversed by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and returned to the US District Court for the Central District of California. 

In July 2021, Taylor filed for the case to be dismissed after submitting additional analysis from experts. Her request has been denied. 

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