Taylor Swift’s Team Battling Lawsuit From Writers Of 3LW’s ‘Playas Gon’ Play’ Over Her ‘Shake It Off’ Hit ‘They Did Not Invent These Common Phrases’
Did 3LW’s “Playas Gon Play” originate the phrases “playas gon play” and “haters gon hate”?
A copyright lawsuit filed by two writers of the song, Sean Hall and Nathan Butler, says it did.
While the case was tossed out in a district court in February 2018, an appeals court resurrected it when it sent the lawsuit back to the district court Monday (Oct. 28).
Hall said in a statement,
“We are happy the court unanimously sided with us. This case is 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.”
A rep for Taylor Swift said,
“Mr. Hall is incorrect, the court did not unanimously side in their favor, the court sent the case back to the lower court for further determination. These men are not the originators, or creators, of the common phrases ‘Players’ or ‘Haters’ or combinations of them. They did not invent these common phrases nor are they the first to use them in a song. We are confident the true writers of ‘Shake It Off’ will prevail again. Their claim is not a crusade for all creatives, it is a crusade for Mr. Hall’s bank account.”
Lawyers for Hall and Butler also added,
“We anticipate that there will be more attempts to get rid of the case, and we intend to keep going to get our clients their day in court.”
When the case was dismissed back in 2018, Judge Michael Fitzgerald pointed out that when 3LW released the song,
“American popular culture was heavily steeped in the concepts of players, haters, and player haters… The concept of actors acting in accordance with their essential nature is not creative at all; it is banal.”
But when the appeals court reversed the case, the judges said,
“It would be a dangerous undertaking for persons trained only to the law to constitute themselves final judges of the worth of pictorial illustrations, outside of the narrowest and most obvious limits.”
“originality, as we have long recognized, is normally a question of fact … Justice Holmes’ century-old warning remains valid. By concluding that, ‘for such short phrases to be protected under the Copyright Act, they must be more creative than the lyrics at issues here,’ the district court constituted itself as the final judge of the worth of an expressive work.”
Do you think Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” stole from 3LW’s “Playas Gon Play”? Tell us in the comments!