Two songwriters have dropped their lawsuit claiming that Taylor Swift copied their lyrics in her 2014 No 1 hit Shake It Off, according to court documents filed on Monday.
Sean Hall and Nathan Butler told a Los Angeles federal judge they will dismiss their 2017 case with prejudice, which means it cannot be refiled.
A trial in the case had been scheduled to begin in January 2023.
Monday’s court papers, filed jointly by attorneys for both Swift and the songwriters, did not say if there was a settlement. Representatives for the parties did not immediately respond to requests for more information.
In Shake It Off, Swift sings: “The players gonna play, play, play, play, play, and the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate.”
Playas Gon’ Play, written by Hall and Butler, included the phrases “playas, they gonna play, and haters, they gonna hate”. The song, performed by R&B group 3LW, appeared on their 2000 album and appeared on the Billboard Hot 100 and MTV’s Total Request Live.
The case was dismissed in 2018, with a judge commenting that the lyrics were “too banal” to be copied, but resurrected by an appeal panel in 2021.
Swift told the court in August that she had never heard 3LW’s song before writing Shake It Off. She said she had heard the phrases “players gonna play” and “haters gonna hate” used commonly to “express the idea that one can or should shrug off negativity.”
“With Shake It Off, I wanted to provide a comedic, empowering approach to helping people feel better about negative criticism through music, dance, and the personal independence enabling one to just shake off the negative criticism,” she said.
She had denied the possibility of having heard the 3LW song when it was released, saying that her parents did not allow her to watch MTV’s Total Request Live as a child; the 3LW hit charted when she was 10 years old.
Swift’s mother, Andrea Swift, also filed a statement saying that she “carefully monitored both the television [Swift] watched and the music she heard”.
Hall and Butler had argued that the lyrics were too close for their similarity to be a coincidence. They had asked for an unspecified amount of damages.
Reuters contributed to this report