Music

Taylor Swift Must Face Trial in “Shake It Off” Lawsuit, Judge Rules

Taylor Swift Must Face Trial in “Shake It Off” Lawsuit, Judge Rules

The singer’s motion to reconsider a previous ruling against summary judgement in the copyright lawsuit was denied

Taylor Swift on the Toronto International Film Festival red carpet

Taylor Swift at the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival in Toronto, Ontario, September 09, 2022. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images)

Taylor Swift has lost her final attempt to avoid a trial in the copyright lawsuit filed against her by the songwriters behind 3LW’s ‘Playas Gon’ Play,” Rolling Stone reports. Sean Hall and Nathan Butler have accused the singer of lifting the chorus from the 2001 song in her hit “Shake It Off.” U.S. District Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald first denied Swift’s motion to issue a summary judgement in her favor in December, which prompted Swift to file a motion to reconsider. That motion has now been denied, with Judge Fitzgerald noting, “I still think there’s a genuine issue of material fact in part because of the expert opinion.” The case is set to go to trial January 17, 2023. Pitchfork has reached out to representatives for Swift for comment.

Hall and Butler originally filed the “Shake It Off” suit in 2017, and Judge Fitzgerald dismissed it in 2018, noting that the lyrics in question were “too brief, unoriginal and uncreative to warrant protection under the Copyright Act.” An appellate court sent the case back to Fitzgerald in 2021, ruling that the lyrics’ originality should be decided by a jury, not a judge. 

Last month, Swift was sued by author Teresa La Dart over the book that accompanied the special edition CD release of her album Lover. La Dart accused her of infringing on her poetry collection of the same name, seeking damages in excess of $1 million. Swift also announced her new album Midnights from the stage at the 2022 VMAs, where she broke the record for most Video of the Year wins. 

Check out “On Loving Taylor Swift While Being Brown” on the Pitch.

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