Judge Slams Taylor Swift For Seeking Legal Costs

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A judge slammed Taylor Swift this week for trying to get two songwriters who sued her for copyright infringement to pay her legal costs.

U.S. District Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald said Swift is “perfectly capable” of covering the $75,000 U.S. in fees.

He said the lawsuit was “not factually spurious or farfetched” and that the pop superstar should welcome a system in which songwriters can make copyright infringement claims without fear of huge legal costs.

“Be careful what you wish for,” Fitzgerald wrote in his ruling. “There are very few recording artists, if any, who have a greater interest than Ms. Swift in a robust regime of copyright law.”

Sean Hall and Nathan Butler sued Swift last year over her hit “Shake it Off,” claiming she stole the lyrics “playas gonna play” and “haters gonna hate” from their 2001 song “Playas Gon’ Play” by 3LW.

Fitzgerald dismissed the lawsuit in February because “the alleged infringed lyrics are short phrases that lack the modicum of originality and creativity required for copyright protection.”

Swift’s team asked the court to order the plaintiffs to pay the singer’s legal costs as a deterrent to others thinking about making similar claims.

Fitzgerald rejected the demand. “Put more bluntly,” he wrote, “if the court’s only choice were between awarding fees to defendants based on the complaint or fees to plaintiffs based on the motion, the court would without hesitation award the fees to plaintiffs.”