If you sue Taylor Swift, just remember her lyrics might be used against you.
That’s what a California judge did Tuesday, when she dismissed a copyright lawsuit against the pop star, a suit which accused her of stealing another artist’s lyrics for her hit song “Shake It Off.”
United States District Court Judge Gail Standish cheekily quoted lyrics from other Swift songs as she tossed the suit filed by musician Jessie Braham. He claimed his song “Haters Gone Hate” had the same 22-word phrase that Swift used in her song. Braham said he copyrighted “Haters Gone Hate” in February 2013.
Braham claimed in the lawsuit that 92% of Taylor Swift’s song came from his song.
Comparing the lyrics
Swift’s song has the lyrics: “Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play. And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate,” as well as “And the fakers gonna fake, fake, fake, fake, fake.” It was included in her hit album “1989,” which she released in 2014.
Braham’s song has the lyrics “Haters gone hate, playas gone play. Watch out for them fakers, they’ll fake you everyday.”
In her dismissal, Standish invoked Swift’s 2012 hit, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.”
“At present, the Court is not saying that Braham can never, ever, ever get his case back in court. But, for now, we have got problems, and the Court is not sure Braham can solve them.”
‘A blank space’
Braham filed the suit in federal court himself without an attorney. He also asked the court to waive various filing fees, saying he last had a job in 2006. He was seeking $42 million in damages from Swift and Sony, her record label. Braham also wanted to be given a songwriter credit.
Standish went on to write: “As currently drafted, the Complaint has a blank space — one that requires Braham to do more than write his name. And, upon consideration of the Court’s explanation … Braham may discover that mere pleading BandAids will not fix the bullet holes in his case. At least for the moment, Defendants have shaken off this lawsuit.”
“Blank Space” is another hit song by Swift.
Standish ruled that Braham did not provide enough factual evidence in the case and that his allegations did not rise above a speculative level.
Braham would be given the opportunity to file a new complaint if his lawsuit deficiencies are corrected, the court said.