It seems Taylor Swift‘s 2017 copyright infringement lawsuit over their 2014 hit “Shake It Off” isn’t over just yet. Though the case was dismissed in early 2018 after a judge found the plaintiffs didn’t have sufficient evidence for an infringement, that decision was apparently overturned by an appeals court last October. And now, the case is now set to move ahead.
Songwriters Sean Hall and Nathan Butler originally filed the lawsuit against Swift’s “Shake It Off” and are seeking a percentage of profits from the hit. The pair said it boasted commonalties to the song “Playas Gon’ Play,” which they wrote for 3LW, the early ’00s girl group composed of Naturi Naughton and Cheetah Girls stars Adrienne Bailon and Kiely Williams.
According to NME, LA judge Michael Fitzgerald gave Butler and Hall the go-ahead to proceed with the lawsuit as they “have sufficiently alleged a protectable selection and arrangement or a sequence of creative expression.” The arrangement in question is Butler and Hall’s chorus, which reads: “Playas, they gonna play, and haters, they gonna hate.”
In a statement to Billboard after the case’s decision was originally overturned, Hall said: “We are happy the court unanimously sided with us. We simply refuse to sit still and have our creative work be culturally appropriated as if it never existed. This case is giving voice to all of those creatives who can’t afford to stand up and protect their work in the face of well-financed Goliaths.”
Swift’s team responded to Hall’s statement, saying: “Mr. Hall is incorrect, the court did not unanimously side in their favor, the court sent the case back to the lower court for further determination. […] These men are not the originators, or creators, of the common phrases ‘Players’ or ‘Haters’ or combinations of them. They did not invent these common phrases nor are they the first to use them in a song. We are confident the true writers of ‘Shake It Off’ will prevail again. Their claim is not a crusade for all creatives, it is a crusade for Mr. Hall’s bank account.”
Listen to “Shake It Off” and “Playas Gon’ Play” above to compare the works for yourself.