An attorney for the two plaintiffs says Taylor Swift only applied for dismissal because she was dissatisfied with an earlier judgment.
Singer Taylor Swift has asked a court to dismiss a copyright infringement lawsuit for her hit single “Shake It Off,” calling the judge’s verdict, which allowed the case to be brought to court, “unprecedented.”
According to NBC News, “Shake It Off,” released in 2014, spent four weeks topping the Billboard Top 100.
However, Swift was sued in 2017 by songwriters Sean Hall and Nathan Butler, who wrote the song “Playas Gon ‘Play” for the musical group 3LW in 2001.
Earlier this month, US District Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald denied Swift’s motion for a summary judgment against Hall and Butler, stating that there was “a real dispute over the potentially substantial similarity between the texts and their sequential structure.”
Fitzgerald said a lawsuit would help determine whether similarities between the two songs – including phrases like “players gonna play” and “haters gonna hate” – are sufficient to breach the legal threshold for copyright infringement.
Microphone; Image by Kane Reinholdtsen, via Unsplash.com.
“[Swift] to quarrel[s] that even if ‘Playas’ contains protectable elements, they are not materially similar to those in ‘Shake’ (as a literary or musical work), ”Fitzgerald wrote in his December 9 ruling. “Plaintiffs argue that there are at least seven elements in the selection and arrangement of the contested four-part lyric sequence that the refrain of ‘Shake’ copies from ‘Playas’, including, for example: 1) Shake’s combination of tautological phrases; 2) parallel texts; and 3) grammatical model ‘Xers gonna X’. “
In another motion dated December 23, Swift attorney Peter Anderson described Fitzgerald’s decision as “something no other court did” and requested that it be “reviewed.”
Anderson said the judge’s ruling did not include an extrinsic test in copyright law that generally distinguishes between protected and unprotected material in a person’s work.
In his filing, Anderson argued that the only similarity between the songs on an extrinsic test is that “both works use versions of two short public domain phrases”. […] which can be freely used by everyone ”, as well as two tautologies.
“Having versions of the two short public domain statements and two other tautologies in both songs … just doesn’t pass the extrinsic test,” said Anderson.
“Otherwise, plaintiffs could sue anyone who writes, sings, or publicly says ‘gamblers will gamble’ and ‘haters will hate’ with other tautologies alone,” added Swift’s attorney. “Allowing this to happen is unprecedented and ‘deceitful'[s] the public domain. ‘”
However, a Hall and Butler attorney said that Swift’s new motion was “baseless,” based on the same arguments that Fitzgerald had already dismissed.
“All it requires is that the court overturn its decision because Swift is dissatisfied with the verdict,” said Gerard Fox Law attorney Marina Bogorad. “She made these arguments [sic] before, and they were rejected. The precedent is clear that such motions are routinely denied because the rules are not designed to give an unhappy litigator an additional chance to influence the judge. We are confident that the court will adhere to the precedent here. “
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