Sean Hall and Nathan Butler, who wrote 3LW's song "Playas Gon' Play," sued Swift with the allegation that she stole lyrics from their song to create her 2014 hit, "Shake it Off."
In "Playas Gon' Play," the R&B trio sang, "Playas, they gonna play / And haters, they gonna hate." In "Shake it Off," Swift declared "players gonna play, play, play, play, play / and the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate."
Unfortunately for Hall and Butler, U.S. District Judge Michael Fitzgerald granted Swift's lawyers' motion to dismiss the lawsuit with the reasoning that the phrases are too commonly used to be copyrighted.
"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," reads the ruling. "[B]y 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."
The judge later followed up with a reason that sounded more like a diss than a ruling.
"The allegedly infringed lyrics are short phrases that lack the modicum of originality and creativity required for copyright protection," it read. "While the Court is extremely skeptical that Plaintiffs will—in a manner consistent with Rule 11—be able to rehabilitate their copyright infringement claim in an amended complaint, out of an abundance of forbearance it will give Plaintiffs a single opportunity to try.”
Hall and Butler have the right to amend their complaint by Feb. 26, but it seems unlikely that Judge Fitzgerald will change his stance. The judge isn't wrong, either. The phrases used in the songs have been laced in countless '90s hip-hop songs, including Notorious B.I.G.'s track "Playa Hater" with then-Puff Daddy and 504 Boyz "Haters Gon' Hate." Dave Chappelle even spoofed R. Kelly's 2001 track "Feelin' On Yo Booty" in his "(I Wanna) Piss on You" spoof song with "haters wanna hate, lovers wanna love." Basically, players have been playing for a long time and haters have been hating for even longer.
Read the full ruling below.