A hit song by Taylor Swift called "Shake It Off" got her sued after a lawsuit claimed she plagiarized the line "haters gonna hate and "playas gonna play".
Swift emerged from the lawsuit unscathed after the judge ruled the phrases could not be copyrighted. The lawsuit began four months ago after songwriters Sean Hall and Nathan Butler alleged that Swift ripped off their 2001 song for 3LW "Playas Gon' Play".
The song contains lines like "The playas gon' play/ Them haters gonna hate." The pair's attorney said, "The combination of playas/players playing along with hatas/haters hating may seem like common parlance today, however, in 2001 it was completely original and unique."
"In all, 'Playas Gon’ Play' prominently features a sequence of four peoples playas, haters, callers, and ballers who engage in four activities playing, hating, calling, and balling," their attorney said.
"Plaintiffs were the first to put such a sequence together using the terms playas and haters, and prior to Defendants’ use at issue herein, the combination had not since been used in popular music."
Swift's attorney issued a statement saying, "This is a ridiculous claim and nothing more than a money grab. The law is simple and clear. They do not have a case." Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald apparently agreed because he ruled in favor of Swift.
"By 2001, American popular culture was heavily steeped in the concepts of players, haters, and player haters," Fitzgerald said. "The concept of actors acting in accordance with their essential nature is not at all creative; it is banal… In short, combining two truisms about playas and haters, both well-worn notions as of 2001, is simply not enough."
"the lyrics at issue — the only thing that Plaintiffs allege Defendants copied — are too brief, unoriginal, and uncreative to warrant protection under the Copyright Act."
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Can't copyright publicly used phrases…. nothing new here.
That is like claiming ownership rights to "Good Morning" because a Beatles song used it. or 10,000's other commonly used slang phrases
Boils down to just some forgotten band and a lawyer looking for $$$$$$ and a spotlight.