Everyone Wins as Taylor Swift “Shakes Off” Copyright Suit
Taylor Swift, the Magistrate Judge, and even the Plaintiff all came out ahead in recent litigation brought against Swift for copyright infringement.
Swift had been accused by another musician, Jessie Braham, of stealing Braham’s lyrics. Braham claimed in the lawsuit that 92% of Swift’s lyrics from her 2014 hit song “Shake it Off” came from his 2013 song “Haters Gone Hate.” Braham sought $42 Million in damages from Swift and her record label, Sony Records. Braham also wanted songwriting credit.
Fortunately for Swift, the complaint was quickly dismissed. Last week, the Magistrate Judge, Gail Standish, ruled that Braham did not provide enough factual evidence or allegations to support his case. In doing so, Standish wrote an opinion which has gone viral, at least in legal circles, for its clever reference to other Swift lyrics, including those from her 2012 hit song “We Are Never Getting Back Together,” and her 2014 hit songs “Bad Blood” and “Blank Space:”
“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.”
Standish continued on to write, “the Complaint has a blank space – one the requires Braham to do more than write his name….Braham may discover that mere pleading Band-Aids will not fix bullet holes in his case. At least for the moment, Defendants have shaken off this lawsuit.”
It even turns out that Braham is also coming out ahead despite the dismissal of his complaint. Braham, who filed the suit without an attorney, and who indicated in his filings that he has not had a job since 2006, has seen interest in the case and Standish’s ruling exponentially increase his song’s exposure in recent weeks. Likely out of curiosity and from interest in comparing the songs, Braham’s YouTube video of “Haters Gone Hate” has received nearly 1.5 Million views since the filing of the suit at the end of October, despite having only 400,000 over the nearly two years prior to the suit. Even for Braham it seems “the high was worth the pain.”
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