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Taylor Swift is going to be charged for allegedly plagiarising the lyrics to her global hit “Shake it off”

Justice must evaluate if her song is a replica of the defunct girl group 3LW’s song “Playas gon’play” (2001)

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Taylor Swift is going to be charged for allegedly plagiarising the lyrics to her global hit "Shake it off"

Taylor Swift will face charges of plagiarism in the lyrics of her international smash “Shake it off.”

Justice must evaluate if her song is a replica of the defunct girl group 3LW’s song “Playas gon’play” (2001).

Taylor Swift, an American singer-songwriter, will face a copyright violation trial over the lyrics to one of her biggest singles, “Shake it off”. A California court denied the artist’s plea to dismiss the lawsuit, determining that only a jury could evaluate if her 2014 hit is a copy of the song “Playas gon’play” (2001), by the now-defunct girl group 3LW.

Despite the fact that the rhythms of both songs vary, their lyrics include versions of the lines “players going to play” and “haters going to hate”.

Previously, California Central District Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald rejected the complaint, claiming that the lyrics were too “banal” to be protected by copyright.

Fitzgerald noted 13 prior songs that featured identical phrases in her original statement, including “Hater Beach” by The Notorious BIG and “Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac.

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Taylor Swift

The judge stated at the time that “in the early 2000s, popular culture was so steeped in the concepts of gamblers and haters” that phrases like ‘those who play… are going to play’ or ‘those who hate… are going to hate’ they are not especially different from others like ‘runners are going to run’; or ‘swimmers go swimming’.

“The concept of actors acting in accordance with their essential nature is not creative at all; it is banal”, he stated, noting that “the lyrics in question are too short, not very original and not very creative to justify protection under the Copyright Law”.

Meanwhile, composers Sean Hall and Nathan Butler filed an appeal, and a federal court overturned the earlier ruling, remanding the matter to Judge Fitzgerald.

Swift requested a summary judgement, which would result in an instant judgement in her favour, but Fitzgerald refused on Thursday. “Although there are some notable differences between the works, there are also significant similarities in word use and sequence/structure,” he stated.

“The court cannot currently determine whether any jury is able to reasonably find a substantial similarity in lyrical phrasing, word arrangement or poetic structure between the two works,” the magistrate added.

As per the judge, Swift’s paid experts made “persuasive arguments,” but they were insufficient to save the matter from going to trial.

“Playas gon’ play” was a modest hit for 3LW. Despite this, the composers’ careers remained. Hall has written and produced songs for Justin Bieber and Maroon 5, while Butler has collaborated with the Backstreet Boys and Luther Vandro.

Swift’s “Shake it off” is the best-selling single of her career, peaking at number one in the US and number two in the UK (where it was displaced from the first position).

Attorneys representing Hall and Butler applauded the judgement, claiming that the court “did the right thing”. When reached by the BBC, Swift’s team refused to comment. A trial date has yet to be determined.

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Written by Christina d'souza

Proofreader, editor, journalist. I have been doing my favourite thing for more than six years.

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