LOS ANGELES — Pop superstar Taylor Swift must face a lawsuit from songwriters who claim the Grammy-winning singer copied their lyrics in her 2014 hit single “Shake It Off,” a California judge has ruled.
In a decision issued on Thursday, U.S. District Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald rejected Swift’s bid to throw out a suit that said she took wording from 2014 song “Playas Gon’ Play” by R&B girl group 3LW.
Fitzgerald said there were “some noticeable differences” between the songs but also “enough objective similarities” that the case should go to a jury trial.
“Although Defendants have made a strong closing argument for a jury, they have not shown that there are no genuine issues of triable fact,” the judge wrote.
A spokeswoman for Swift had no comment on Friday. In 2017, her representatives had called the songwriters’ claim of copyright infringement “ridiculous” and “nothing more than a money grab.”
In “Shake It Off,” Swift sings: “the players gonna play, play, play, play, play, and the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate.”
“Playas Gon’ Play,” written by Sean Hall and Nathan Butler, included the phrases “players, they gonna play, and haters, they gonna hate.”
Hall and Butler said the combination of playas or players with hatas or haters was unique to its use in their song. The pair are seeking unspecified damages.
Their case had been thrown out in 2018 but the pair appealed and suit was revived. —Reporting by Lisa Richwine; editing by Barbara Lewis