Taylor Swift’s legal bill request denied by judge in Shake It Off lawsuit

A judge has denied Taylor Swift’s request for her legal fees to be covered after defending a copyright lawsuit over Shake It Off.
Songwriting duo Sean Hall and Nathan Butler filed a lawsuit in September (17) claiming that Taylor’s hit 2014 single ripped off their 2001 song Playas Gon’ Play, recorded by girl group 3LW, and sought substantial damages.
Taylor filed to dismiss the case shortly afterwards and U.S. District Judge Michael Fitzgerald sided with her in February (18). Her legal team subsequently called for the songwriters to pay around $75,000 (£52,000) to cover the costs they incurred defending the case.
According to The Blast, Judge Fitzgerald has now denied her request, noting that the legal bill is more than reasonable for someone of her financial standing.
“Although the Court disagreed with Plaintiffs, their litigation position was neither frivolous nor objectively unreasonable,” he wrote in a ruling issued on Monday (16Apr18). “And the purposes of the Copyright Act – namely, encouraging and rewarding creative endeavours – would not be well-served by a fee award.
“The Court is comfortable in concluding that the singer and songwriters of Shake it Off (which is on an album, of which more than 10 million units have been sold worldwide) are perfectly capable of bearing the approximately $75,000 in attorneys’ fees that they request through the present Motion.”
He finished his ruling with the warning: “There are very few recording artists, if any, who have a greater interest than Ms. Swift in a robust regime of copyright law. Be careful what you wish for.”
In the lawsuit, Hall and Butler claimed Taylor’s lyrics, “Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play/And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate,” were too similar to their lyrics, “Playas, they gonna play and haters, they gonna hate”.
Judge Fitzgerald ruled that the phrases were so short and lacked the requisite creativity to be protected under the Copyright Act.