Music News

Taylor Swift’s lawyers accuse expert in “Shake It Off” suit of “making it up as he goes along”

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Big Machine

Taylor Swift is still trying to shake off a lawsuit claiming she stole key elements of her 2014 smash-hit single. Now, her lawyers are arguing that some experts hired by the opposing side are unqualified to weigh in on the matter.

Billboard reports Taylor’s attorney asked a federal judge to exclude testimony from several experts in the “Shake It Off” copyright suit, which heads to a jury trial in January. The lawyers state one expert in particular — from George Washington University — is “not qualified to provide that or any of the other opinions he has expressed in this case, and his deposition testimony confirms he is simply making it up as he goes along.”

That expert was retained by Sean Hall and Nathan Butler, who sued Taylor in 2017 and claimed she stole lyrics from the “Playas Gon’ Play” song they wrote for 3LW.  The ’90s song features the lyrics “playas, they gonna play” and “haters, they gonna hate.” This expert was hired to compare the similarities between the two songs.

Another expert Taylor’s team takes issue with is an accountant whose testimony, they say, was a “complete misfire.” They also pushed back at Hall and Butler hiring lawyer Bob Kohn, who has handled other copyright cases.

They take issue with Kohn claiming half the lyrics of “Shake It Off” are lifted from “Playas Gon’ Play,” and that Taylor’ song loses “its force, meaning and energy” without those allegedly stolen lyrics.

The singer’s team attests Kohn provided no analysis to back up his “unsupported assertions.”

Her team worries that, since the matter is heading to a jury trial, jurors won’t be trained in or knowledgeable of songwriting or making music — and they could believe supposedly erroneous statements.  

The judge has not ruled on this latest filing.

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