An appeals court has revived a copyright lawsuit against Taylor Swift over her hit song Shake it off. The 28-year-old singer enjoyed massive chart success worldwide with the catchy tune, which includes the lines: "Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play/And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate."
But in September 2017, songwriting duo Sean Hall and Nathan Butler filed papers claiming they came up with the line in a tune they penned 16 years ago.
In the lawsuit, the accomplished songwriters alleged that 20 per cent of Shake It Off is their 2001 song Playas Gon' Play, recorded by girl group 3LW, due to the lyrics "Playas, they gonna play and haters, they gonna hate" - and sought substantial financial damages from Swift.
Swift filed to dismiss the case in 2018, with U.S. District Judge Michael Fitzgerald agreeing in February that year.
"The lynchpin of this entire case is thus whether or not the lyrics 'Playas, they gonna play / And haters, they gonna hate' are eligible for protection under the Copyright Act," he wrote in his ruling. "
By 2001, 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 at all creative; it is banal."
However, after Hall and Butler took the case to The Ninth Circuit of Appeals, the three-judge panel ruled on Monday that the dismissal decision was premature - citing the ruling by Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes that questioned whether or not a judge can rule over an artistic case.
The copyright case will head back to court at a later date. Swift's attorneys are expected to seek dismissal on alternate grounds, according to editors at Variety.