Taylor Swift to face trial over claim she ripped off 'Shake It Off' lyrics

Taylor Swift
(Image credit: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame)

Taylor Swift wasn't able to shake off a claim she ripped off lyrics for one of her most popular songs, at least not before it heads to a trial.

A judge has declined to dismiss a copyright case against Swift over her hit 2014 song "Shake It Off," BBC News reports. Songwriters Sean Hall and Nathan Butler have claimed Swift copied their 3LW song "Playas Gon' Play," which like "Shake it Off" includes versions of the phrases "players gonna play" and "haters gonna hate."

District Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald previously ruled these lyrics are "too brief, unoriginal, and uncreative to warrant protection under the Copyright Act," pointing to numerous other songs that included similar language. But an appeals court reversed this ruling, while Swift sought a summary judgment to end the case. The judge has now denied Swift's request, ruling that "even though there are some noticeable differences between the works, there are also significant similarities in word usage and sequence/structure," and the court can't "presently determine that no reasonable juror could find substantial similarity of lyrical phrasing, word arrangement, or poetic structure between the two works," per The Guardian.

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Hall previously said this case was "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," while a representative for Swift said Hall and Butler "did not invent these common phrases nor are they the first to use them in a song," adding, "Their claim is not a crusade for all creatives, it is a crusade for Mr. Hall's bank account."

Swift previously faced a separate claim she stole the "Shake It Off" lyrics from Jessie Braham's song "Haters Gonna Hate," but a judge dismissed that case in 2015, writing, "We have got problems, and the court is not sure Braham can solve them."

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