Copyright Suit Against Taylor Swift Could 'Open Floodgates,' Nashville Lawyer Warns

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit has reinstated a copyright lawsuit filed by two songwriters who claim musician Taylor Swift stole their lyrics for her hit 2014 song, “Shake It Off.” A district court judge dismissed the case in 2018, saying the lyrics cited in the suit “didn’t merit copyright protection” because they are so often used. This week however, the 9th Circuit said the trial court wrongly acted as the “final judge of the worth of an expressive work.” Nashville-based lawyer Jeff Allen of Bradley Arant Boult Cummings spoke to Bloomberg Law, saying the suit could “potentially open the floodgates for people filing lawsuits over people using colloquial phrases.” He added, “that’s not what copyright law was intended to protect.”

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