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Taylor Swift sued for copyright infringement

Written by Fozia Cheychi on 02 November 2015

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A little-known US R&B singer/songwriter Jesse Braham whose stage name is Jesse Graham, is claiming that Taylor Swift has stolen lyrics from his 2013 song Haters Gone Hate for her hit single “Shake it Off”

Swift’s Shake it Off topped music charts around the world and secured number 2 in the UK charts. On YouTube the video for the song has been watched more than 1.1 billion times.

The contested lyrics in Braham’s song are “Haters gone hate, players gone play. Watch out for them fakers, they’ll fake you everyday”. He is claiming that Taylor Swift has used those lyrics without his permission for her single “Shake It Off”, and as such is claiming damages in the region on $42 million. A well as compensation, Mr Braham also wasn’t his name added as a writer on the track.

Braham’s song was released in 2013- a year before Taylor Swift’s Grammy winning song was debuted.

He claims that he has copyright ownership of the phrases “Haters gone Hate” and “Players gone play”, both of which appear in the chorus of Taylor Swift’s hit single and in his original song.

Braham has reportedly told the Daily New York News that “there is no way” Swift came up with her lyrics independently of his song. “Her hook is the same as mine”, he continued “if I didn’t write the song “Haters Gone Hate”, there wouldn’t be a song called “shake It Off”. He further commented that Swift’s management has repeatedly denied his requests for an official writing credit on the song and a selfie with the pop star.

Legal sources have commented that Braham who is a litigant in person cannot claim copyright protection for the phrases “haters gone hate” and “playas gone play” as the Copyright Act does not protect short phrases and these phrases are not original to him. Further they commented that the “most damning to Mr Braham’s claim, the two songs have absolutely nothing in common”.

Swift’s legal team are yet to release a statement.

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