Taylor Swift’s team responds to “Shake It Off” lawsuit: You can’t copyright “players/haters” phrase

Mert & MarcusTaylor Swift‘s legal team is attempting to shake off a lawsuit filed against the singer.

In September, songwriters Nathan Butler and Sean Hall claimed that Taylor’s #1 hit “Shake It Off” ripped off their song “Plays Gon’ Play,” a 2001 hit for the girl group 3LW.  But in a new motion filed in U.S. district court in California, Taylor’s lawyers say that it’s impossible to claiming plagiarism over the concept of “players gonna play/haters gonna hate.”

The chorus of the 3LW song goes, “Playas, they gonna play, and haters, they gonna hate,” while Taylor’s song includes the lyrics “Players gonna play, play, play, play, play, and haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate.”

In the motion, posted by Billboard, Taylor’s lawyers write, “There can be no copyright protection in ‘playas, they gonna play and haters, they gonna hate,’ because it would impermissibly monopolize the idea that players will play and haters will hate.” 

In addition, the lawyers said that Butler and Hall’s “claim to being the only ones in the world who can refer to players playing and haters hating is frivolous.” 

Not only have previous cases proved that short phrases can’t be copyrighted but, the lawyers point out, there are many other songs that use the words “players” and “haters,” such as Fleetwood Mac’s 1977 smash “Dreams” and The Notorious B.I.G.’s 1997 hit “Playa Hater.”

Taylor’s team is asking for the case to be dismissed.

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