US judge says ‘haters gonna hate’ phrase ‘too banal’ to copyright in Taylor Swift case

A judge has dismissed a case against Taylor Swift, remarking the phrase "haters gonna hate" is "too banal" to copyright.

Sean Hall and Nathan Butler sued the pop star last year, and said her hit single Shake It Off stole from their composition, Playas Gon’ Play.

Their chorus goes: "playas, they gonna play, and haters, they gonna hate".

This is similar to the chorus of the song "Shake It Off."

However, Judge Michael W Fitzgerald ruled in Swift’s favour, and wrote: "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.

"In the early 2000s, popular culture was adequately suffused with the concepts of players and haters to render the phrases ‘playas… gonna play’ or ‘haters… gonna hate’, standing on their own, no more creative than ‘runners gonna run’; ‘drummers gonna drum’; or ‘swimmers gonna swim.’

He argued that the judge should have called in an expert to rule on the originality of the lyrics instead of interpreting them himself.

"He cannot make himself an expert in the music industry," he said. "I’m sorry. it’s actually embarrassing."

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