Taking on Taylor Swift (2023) Movie Script

Welcome to the Eras Tour.
Taylor Swift's Eras
record-breaking tour
has had some unprecedented moments.
There was seismic activity
in Seattle.
The Swifties danced
and jumped so much.
The equivalent of
a 2.3-magnitude earthquake.
Taylor Swift's impact
on pop culture today
is extraordinary.
The concert, from my understanding,
generated billions of dollars.
One economist suggests
that Taylor Swift
through her US tour
could add $5 billion to US GDP.
If you're 8 to 80,
you know a song of Taylor Swift's.
In modern pop times
you know, you have
your cream-of-the-crop artists
and Taylor Swift is probably,
arguably, the tip of the top.
Pop star Taylor Swift is taking
her record-breaking Eras Tour
to the big screen.
There seems to be
not only a fascination
but an obsession
with what she's singing
who she's singing to,
who her friends are
what these songs mean to her.
We have a dedicated NFL cam
to Taylor Swift
in all of these games.
I've never, I promise you,
have seen anything like it.
She is the biggest artist,
like, in the world.
She's just, like, rolling in dough.
Taylor Swift is very modern
pop star.
But in some ways
she's as old fashioned
as it gets.
She still believes in magazine covers
and performances on late night TV.
She started off in the country lane,
and she moved into the pop sphere.
All of a sudden, she exploded
onto the pop music scene
with her 1989 album
with the first single
being "Shake It Off."
And this was massive.
"Shake It Off" was everywhere.
It's actually stuck
in my head a little bit.
'Cause the players
Gonna play, play, play, play, play
And the haters
Gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate
Baby, I'm just gonna shake
Shake, shake, shake, shake
- I shake it off, shake it off
- I shake it off, shake it off
We were used to seeing Taylor Swift
as, like, this kind of sweet,
strumming the guitar
talking about the boy next door
that she loves.
And then here she is
and she's standing up
and she's got her back up dancers.
And she's like, "You know what?
I'm hip. I'm cool.
I'm not here for the haters."
But she's not been able to shake off
the controversy from that song.
I was in my car in Atlanta
on the 10th and 14th bridge
going over the 75/85 split
when I heard "Shake It Off."
The first thing I thought
was the track was amazing.
And then the hook came in.
How does a person feel
when they come home
and they feel like
their house has been robbed?
That's how I felt.
One, two, three, four.
When I first got into
the music business, I was 17.
Back then,
getting deals was a situation.
Everyone has a deal now.
Back then, it's like
if you had a deal,
it's because you fought for it.
I met Nate Butler through a friend.
Nate was just leaving college.
He wanted to write music.
So, we met,
and we hit it off, like, immediately
and became, like, best friends.
And then, you know, of course
you know, not everything you write
is going to be a smash.
But we got a lot
of placements together.
We worked on Xscape.
We loved that song so much
that Sean produced.
I feel like people really appreciated
real vocals back then.
People loved R&B back then.
R&B was, I would say,
bigger than hip-hop.
So, we have this emergence
of black girl groups
who are very unapologetic.
And they're singing
a different type of song.
And I believe, truly, for me
that was the start of women singing
in a very empowered way.
My first pop hit would probably be
No More on 3LW.
You do or you don't, don't
You will or you won't, won't
- No more
- Yeah, yeah
So, within the pantheon
of black girl groups
of the late '90s and early 2000's
3LW definitely had staying power.
They had a steady fandom.
They had marketability.
They could harmonize.
They could dance.
They had personality.
They had identity.
And they had something
you could hold on to.
Nate and I worked on
about three or four songs
on the 3LW album.
I think it was "No More,"
"Curious," "Playas Gon' Play."
When we were writing
"Playas Gon' Play," we were at church
and I did this track
right before service.
I played it for Nate
and he's like, "Oh, my god.
That's incredible,
that's incredible."
Service is over.
He's like, "Shawn, I got the hook.
It's crazy, it's crazy."
So, we go back to the house
he sings the hook to me,
I lose my mind
and we're like,
this is a smash, this is crazy.
We just knew. It's...
Sometimes, when you write something
and you get goosebumps
you don't know
if it's going to go number one
but you have
a really good feeling, yeah.
In this case,
we're talking about a song
that was legitimately popular.
While it wasn't "Shake It Off"
it was legitimately something
that was in the airwaves.
3LW's song "Playas Gon' Play"
only peaked at 81
on the Billboard Hot 100.
But in my world at the time,
that was a big record.
When I first heard "Shake It Off"
I was vibing with the song,
I was just in it.
And then when the hook started...
you know, my mouth
kind of just dropped open.
We knew something had to happen.
We had to take action somehow.
At least extend
an invitation to talk.
We reached out
and... didn't really get a response.
So, I called Julian
to get his perspective on it.
Julian Wright is a manager
slash business mind
slash a little bit lawyer.
You know, he went
to Harvard Law School
and took some courses there
or whatever.
So, we was like, you know,
run it by Julian, see what he thinks.
as soon as I heard the hook
and I heard "players going to play"
I said... that's 3LW.
Players gon' play
and haters gon' hate, you know?
Songwriters Nathan Butler
and Sean Hall sued Taylor Swift
claiming that Taylor Swift's song
"Shake It Off"
borrowed from a song
they wrote for 3LW
called "Playas Gon' Play."
In 2017, Hall and Butler
filed a lawsuit against Taylor Swift
because they felt like those lines
that "players gonna play,
haters going to hate"
had come from their 2000 hit song
with 3LW.
To someone who says
they hear absolutely no similarity
between "Shake It Off"
and "Playas Gon' Play"
between those two choruses
you would have to be listening
with three sets of earmuffs
to try and really argue with that.
Some lawyers reran the situation
but I didn't get it
because, usually, when people
say copyright infringement
nine times out of ten,
they mean the music.
"Oh, there's a sample in there."
Or "You used my baseline."
"You tried to hide it," and blah...
We were saying,
no, it's not the music.
We're talking about
the actual lyrics in the chorus.
It seemed at the time
that it was too common a phrase.
Sort of like trying to trademark
or to copyright "What's up?"
Everyone uses it.
At the time, that was
a very common thing to say.
Like, "hate the player,
not the game."
So, there's also, like,
a cultural component here
where a lot of folks
feel like artists
mainstream artists
like a Taylor Swift
has the agency to take
a little bit of black culture
use it at her disposal, remix it,
and wash her hands of it and say
"I didn't know
this is where it came from."
And it might not even be happening
purposefully or maliciously
but it does happen.
In the early '90s and into the 2000's
you had to be edgy.
And you had to be comfortable
in your blackness.
And you had to be comfortable
in singing in colloquialisms
that only... that only
the culture could understand
that only the collective
could understand.
Player and hater,
like, words like that
it definitely didn't
come from, you know
a news feed or a country artist.
It came from in the hood.
Check it out, babe.
You say he's the smoothest player
out of the three of us here.
Hey, Uncle Phil.
Don't be a player hater, my brother.
One of the original player...
from the Himalaya.
In the '90s and in the early 2000s
as hip hop and R&B
and black music in general
was just enjoying this tidal wave
of cultural influence
a lot of terms that were natural
and synonymous in the black community
became terms that were synonymous
in pop culture writ large.
So, think of slang terms like
player, hater, shot caller, baller.
Want to be ballers
Shot callers, brawlers
- Scrub.
- No, I don't want no scrub
A scrub is a guy
who can't get no love from me.
Scrubs was in my notepad
because I was like
"I'm going to use that
as a title to something."
You know, that was,
like, a little saying
me and my home girls
used to say all the time.
I'm like, "I don't want
no scrub either."
That was our thing.
I was like, oh, we need
to do a song, you know, saying...
you know,
called "Scrubs" or whatever.
I give you the definition of scrubs
the first line of the song.
A scrub is a guy that thinks he's fly
And is also known as a buster
That's what a scrub is,
and now the whole world knows it.
With the Taylor Swift
"Shake It Off" case
it was almost a non-starter
from the get-go
because it was thrown out
by the first judge who heard it.
Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald
dismissed the lawsuit yesterday
ruling that combining the phrases
"playas going to play"
and "haters going to hate"
does not entail
sufficient originality
to warrant copyright protection.
The judge decreed
that this particular phrase
was too brief, too unoriginal,
too common, basically
to be a legitimate copyright claim.
When you're a songwriter
you pride yourself on coming up
with new, fresh lingo, phrases
ways to convey an idea.
All righty.
And when you do that
and then it's used someplace else
it'll make you feel a certain way.
You don't go through a process
for five, six years of challenges
not knowing what the end will be.
Cases can be emotional.
Ups and downs, sad, happy,
you know, excited, not excited.
Just... I wasn't nervous.
I wasn't scared.
We've gotten messages.
We've gotten death threats.
It doesn't faze me.
There have been points in times
where it's been a thing.
But scared?
I wouldn't say scared.
This situation is bigger than me.
It's bigger than my kids.
It's bigger than their kids.
This situation affects us
as a community, people of color
and someone has to stand up.
After that decision was rendered
Sean and Nate decided
to appeal the dismissal.
That's when I came in.
Combining those two phrases
and continuing with the four
lyrical sequences that are similar.
Taking the same number of syllables.
Choosing words
that have negative connotations.
You know, haters.
Choosing a colloquial word,
haters instead of critics.
- Choosing...
- I understand you're arguing.
I... But let me just...
My question was much narrower.
So, sure, the phrases themselves
might be common
but that's not what the claim is.
The claim is that Sean
and Nate put together
an original combination of phrases.
They took "players gonna play,
haters gonna hate"
they put them together
in that sequence in a chorus.
Sean and Nate, they're saying
not only are the lyrics
basically identical
but also, it's the combination
and the order
in which these lyrics appear
in "Playas Gon' Play"
and in "Shake It Off."
Taylor Swift's defense coming out
and saying, "Hold on a second"
that Taylor writes all her own music.
These lyrics were inspired
by commonplace phrases
that were used at her school
and that there is no monopoly
over that phrase.
I argued why the case
should proceed to trial
and Peter Anderson argued
why it shouldn't.
There have to be
concrete similarities
and what they're relying on
are abstractions.
There's a big difference
between "row your boat"
and "row, row, row
your boat."
Those are different things.
"Players, they're gon' play"
and "'cause the players gonna play,
play, play, play, play"
are completely different uses
of public domain material.
This is exactly the core
of creativity.
If I recorded a song today
that began "'cause the players
gonna play, play, play, play
and the haters gonna
hate, hate, hate"
would Ms. Swift have
a copyright claim against me?
If you're talking about identically
copying a series of words
we would have a fight
with the other side
over whether it's short...
Well, so tell...
You just said
"players, they gon' play"
and "haters, they gon' hate"
are not long enough phrases
to get copyright protection.
Are your client's phrases long enough
to get copyright protection?
Really, if somebody
just took the same chorus
that Taylor Swift
did in "Shake It Off"
and used it in their own chorus
I'm sure Taylor Swift will be suing
for copyright infringement.
We've got two extremes
where it's identical copying
of this exact number of repetitions
and we've got the plaintiff's work
where there's no repetition at all.
But I think no repetition at all
means it's not protected.
I think there's an argument
with this number of repetitions
it is protected.
Thank you.
Thank you, Your Honor.
I think that was also a point
that influenced the Ninth Circuit
saying, "Yes,
this case should proceed."
The thing that stood out to me
was more than just the words.
There were quite a few
structural things that I saw
within the composition
that's in both songs.
They're both used as the hooks.
A hook is... That's the chorus.
That's the part of the song
that everybody remembers.
In the "Shake It Off" lawsuit,
Taylor's team has been arguing
that the phrase "players gonna play,
haters going to hate"
that those two phrases are part
of the public domain.
That they had been out there,
that they're fair use.
They also are alleging
that it's a money grab
from Hall and Butler
that they see this as an opportunity
to make money off of Taylor Swift
because she's so
incredibly successful.
But it's obvious that Taylor knows
how the game should be played.
Taylor Swift wrote
Look What You Made Me Do.
Look what you made me do
Look what you made me do
And then she gave credit
to the three members
of Right Said Fred
because she said,
"There are similarities
between my song
and their 'I'm Too Sexy' hit."
I'm too sexy for my shirt
Too sexy for my shirt
So sexy it hurts
And your option is either
to change the song
or your option
is to reach out to the person
who wrote the song
you're worried about
and cut them a deal
get them involved
in the songwriting credits
and then everyone
is happy either way.
Very smart on Taylor Swift's part
because she didn't wait
for somebody to point it out.
She said, "You know what?
I recognize it.
I'm going to give them credit."
Clearly, she understands
that if there are more than
a few similarities
that you need to give credit
where credit is due.
Also shows that she is aware
of how the music industry works.
Taylor Swift as an artist
and as a businesswoman
has always kind of fashioned herself
as a champion for songwriters
and for giving songwriters
their credit where it's due.
I'm in the getaway car,
left you in the motel bar.
- Took the money...
- Took the money in the bag
- and I stole the...
- Took the money...
Put the money in the bag
and I sold the keys.
That was the last time
you ever saw me.
It shows you the complications
that even Taylor Swift
who is certainly an advocate
for her own songwriting
is herself kind of roped into this.
The difference
between cultural appropriation
and cultural appreciation is credit.
If you like something, pay for it.
Cultural appropriation
is co-optation.
It's borrowing without giving credit.
Appropriation is just
outright stealing
and saying that it's your own.
It's that disparity
and that unfairness
that people are constantly
on the lookout for
because it's so historic
and it's so weaved
into the American culture.
Cultural appropriation looks like
not identifying the originator.
And it only becomes popular
in mainstream culture
when someone
who is not black decides to...
use it as their own
or make it their own.
I think a lot of people
are just now waking up to the fact
that most music genres
that were birthed in America
were birthed by black people.
And were stolen and popularized
by mainstream white artists.
The issue of cultural appropriation
really speaks to the roots
of the music industry
which have been
for as long as recording
has existed
has really been riding
on the back of black talent.
Some recording contracts
still say
the record company
will own the master
and any slave recordings.
A slave is a copy of the master.
The roots of these terms
obviously go back
to the very Birth of A Nation era
of white supremacy.
Almost since the beginning
of the music industry
there have been the feeling
that white artists
have taken from black artists
and made it into something
that they felt was more palatable
for a white audience.
And it happens in every industry.
In fashion, in music,
history, you name it.
The money doesn't flow.
The attention doesn't flow
to the black creators.
It is, in a way, hijacked
by the white creators.
Little Richard had often said,
"I am the originator."
He would say that all the time.
And as a kid,
I didn't know what that meant.
It didn't really make sense to me.
But then when you look back
at the history of some of the greats
documented in history
there's such a soulful sound
that is undeniably from the culture.
I think when it comes
to copyright lawsuits
legal decisions don't have
anything to do with ethical ones.
And cultural appropriation falls
under that umbrella of ethics.
The Chuck Berry song
"Sweet Little Sixteen"
was essentially rewritten
by The Beach Boys, by Brian Wilson
as "Surfin' USA."
They're really rockin' in Boston
In Pittsburgh, PA
If everybody had an ocean
Across the USA
It's the same song almost entirely.
Become so excited
Surfin' USA
Brian even admitted
that he was rewriting
"Sweet Little Sixteen"
when he wrote "Surfin' USA."
If you look back
I think the George Harrison case
with "My Sweet Lord"
and The Chiffons' "He's So Fine...."
He's so fine, wish you were mine
My sweet lord, my lord
that's probably the case
that sort of set the table
for what we're looking at now.
I really want to see you
The generally accepted story
is that him, let's just say
ripping off
The Chiffons' "He's So Fine"
was an accident.
It was one
of the biggest songs at the time.
So, I believe George Harrison
that he could have heard
that song
and it could have subconsciously
influenced him.
Subconscious plagiarism,
also known as cryptomnesia
is when you copy something
without intent
or without realizing it.
The way that people make mistakes
with accidental plagiarism
that's just human nature.
If you can prove
that you independently created
a song that's substantially
similar to another
but had no idea
had never heard
of the pre-existing song
it's just purely coincidental
that is a defense.
He didn't deny that he knew the song
you know, it was a big hit
but that it was just something
that he didn't put together
and he thought he had written
a totally original song.
George Harrison lost that case
and was required
to pay a lot of money.
When you have these discussions
about music copyright cases
you don't have to prove intent.
That's sort of impossible.
But you do need to prove access.
In the case of 3LW
access is inherent
when your song was on the charts.
It was on TRL.
Please put your hands
together for 3LW.
TRL was everything.
3LW and their fans here.
Let's make some noise
for Britney Spears.
Live on TRL,
it's Christina Aguilera.
Here is Eminem
with "My Name Is."
Adults were watching it.
Kids were watching it.
The industry was watching it.
That basically
was the ultimate playlist.
The music that you connect with
when you're 10, 11, 12 years old
that is among
the most impactful music
of your life.
You know, that's the stuff
that you're going to carry
into your teens
and into your twenties.
In 2008, Taylor Swift gave
an interview to J-14 magazine
in which she said
that she grew up watching TRL
and she was a huge fan.
I literally grew up
watching TRL, but...
But in August 2022, under oath,
Taylor Swift submitted a declaration.
In it, she states, "I listened
to country music almost exclusively.
In my house, we played CDs
and rarely played the radio.
When I listened to the radio,
it was generally country music.
I did not watch the MTV show TRL
and I did not go to clubs
during this time."
I believe it.
Taylor Swift grew up
on a Christmas tree farm.
And, you know, she...
we've seen the early videos of her
you know, playing the guitar
from when she was a little girl
and she started
as a country music artist.
Taylor Swift also says
in this declaration
"Until learning about
plaintiff's claim in 2017
I had never heard
the song 'Playas Gon' Play'
and had never heard
of that song or the group TLW."
The shade.
"I have never seen
a 'Playas Gon' Play' music video."
"'Shake It Off'
was composed independently
of 'Playas Gon' Play.'"
Taylor goes on for pages
about the inspiration
to "Shake It Off" and her defense.
She says, "My parents limited
what I could watch and listen to
and did not permit me to watch TRL
until I was about 13 years old.
The lyrics to 'Shake It Off'
were written entirely by me.
I drew partly on experiences
in my life, and in particular
unrelenting public scrutiny
of my personal life."
Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page
is defending himself.
Katy Perry is not the only one
who is dealing
with a lawsuit like this.
You've seen this
with a lot of artists
in the past five or so years
with Sam Smith.
Sam Smith and Normani
are facing a copyright lawsuit.
Dua Lipa's Levitating
legal drama continues.
If you want to run away with me
I know a galaxy
And I could take you for a ride
Dua Lipa is facing
copyright allegations
from a pair of composers...
So, the answer to this riddle
When you're caught up
In the middle of the devil
And the deep blue sea
who say that the song
is actually based on a song
that they did back in the '70s.
It's more about composition
as opposed to writing of lyrics.
But then Lizzo, you know
a tweet ended up in a song
and it was a signature moment
of the song.
I just took a DNA test
Turns out I'm 100% that bitch
One of the first lines
on Lizzo's "Truth Hurts" was
"just took a DNA test,
turns out I'm 100% that bitch."
I don't know
if you can say that on CNN.
In the case
of being "100% that bitch"
Mina Lioness truly
was the originator.
And she ended up with credit
because Lizzo was like
"I got to give credit
where credit is due."
Because one thing about social media
when they come for you,
they come with receipts.
If you have a successful song
that charts
someone is probably
going to come after you
and claim that they wrote
something similar.
It's so common
especially in the last seven years
since the "Blurred Lines" trial.
I hate these blurred lines
I know you want it
There's an age old
music industry saying
"where there's a hit,
there's a writ."
Many in the music industry today
shocked by a jury's decision
that the artists behind
the hit song "Blurred Lines"
stole it from Marvin Gaye.
"Blurred Lines" was a sensation.
I mean, it was
the number one song
in the world.
Jane Gaye, Marvin's wife
immediately believed
that it copied Marvin's
"Got to Give It Up."
Because I was too nervous
To really get down
Did you immediately recognize
the song, the similarity?
Didn't take more than a minute.
It didn't help Pharrell Williams
or Robin Thicke
that Robin Thicke admitted
that he was inspired.
One of my favorite songs of all time
was Marvin Gaye's
"Got to Give It Up."
And so, we tried to, you know,
get a little groove like that going.
That was almost
an admission of guilt.
And I know if Marvin were alive
he wouldn't have stood for it.
Jan called me and said,
"Hey, Richard."
And I was like, "I'm in."
Marvin Gaye's family won $5.3 million
after a dispute over...
But a federal jury in California said
it was much more than inspiration.
It was copyright infringement.
But they're not always successful.
How similar can two songs be
before it's considered
copyright infringement?
That is what a Manhattan jury
is weighing in deciding
a high profile case
against British pop star Ed Sheeran.
Ed Sheeran has prevailed in a case
where someone accused him
and it wasn't successful.
Vindication for singer Ed Sheeran.
A jury found he did not
commit copyright infringement.
I'm obviously very happy
with the outcome of the case
and it looks like I'm not having
to retire from my day job after all.
As a music journalist,
one of the questions
that I always used to ask artists
when I would interview them
especially when they have
a new album coming out
is "What were you listening to
around the time
that you created this album?
Who was inspiring you?"
You can't ask that question anymore
because if they say "I was listening
to a lot of David Bowie"
and then the David Bowie estate says
"This sounds
a little bit like 'Fame.'
We're going to sue you"
then my interview with this person
now becomes an admission of guilt.
Everyone should just say
their influences are like
Beethoven and Mozart.
Can't get sued there.
Claims like this
are way too common now
and have become a culture
where a claim is made with the idea
that a settlement will be cheaper
than taking it to court
even if there's no base
for the claim.
It's really damaging
to the songwriting industry.
Everyone in the music industry
is sort of looking
over their shoulder
and feeling like they might be next.
You say I'm different
'Cause you don't get to me anymore
Well, I think I'm better off
Than I ever was before
I've learned in this game, like
when you have a hit song,
you're probably going to get sued.
Let me record that real quick.
It's just what the facts are.
And if you haven't
been sued yet, just wait.
Or you're not doing
something right.
I don't know.
The little secret here that unites
all of these controversies is
we have 12 keys.
There's no way to write a song
that is 100% completely
out of nowhere, original.
What makes it original
is what is your perspective?
Breakfast at Tiffany's
And bottles of bubbles
Girls with tattoos
Who like getting in trouble
So, I worked with Ariana on "7 Rings"
and it was an incredible experience.
Just... we threw it back
with just taking a classic melody
with "Favorite Things."
Girls in white dresses
With blue satin sashes
Snowflakes that stay
On my nose and eyelashes
It started over those simple...
That simple little thing.
And then taking it
to the future, though
and doing a completely
different interpretation of it.
My wrist, stop watchin'
My neck is flossy
Make big deposits
My gloss is poppin'
It was a little bit scary because
you're taking this iconic song
and we're literally trapping it out
and making it and being like
my wrist, my butt,
and all of those other things.
And they could have
been like, "Oh, no...
We cannot have this iconic song,
like, sounding like this."
Ariana Grande agreed to sign over
90% of the royalties of that song
to the estate
of Rodgers and Hammerstein.
She got permission from them
and that was the deal that they made.
After having a few conversations
and figuring it all out
and us all being like, "Man, okay,
is it worth it to keep it in there?
It is? Let's go."
Originality is so much more about
taking something that you love
filtering it through your perspective
filtering it through
your other influences
blending everything together.
And I think that's the thing
that someone like Olivia Rodrigo
does pretty well.
She comes on the scene.
Her first song
is called "Driver's License."
Red lights, stop signs
I still see your face
In the white cars, front yards
Olivia Rodrigo
huge pop success, obviously
and a very post-Taylor Swift
kind of songwriter.
An avowed Swiftie.
I'm just the biggest Swiftie
in the whole world. So, I, like
tweet about her all the time.
This is also the irony
of the Taylor Swift situation.
Which is that, Olivia Rodrigo
she said, how she wrote
the song "Deja Vu."
Do you get deja vu
When she's with you
And she said, you know,
"I really loved 'Cruel Summer'..."
It's a cruel summer
"Taylor Swift's song,
one of my favorite songs
and I wanted to get
that same kind of vibe."
Breakable heaven, but, ooh
It's a cruel summer with you
Annie Clark helped write it
with Taylor and Jack Antonoff
and those are, like, my three
favorite people in the whole world.
They're, like, my three
favorite musicians ever.
Olivia Rodrigo
on her debut album Sour
gave Taylor Swift
writing credits on two songs.
She has said that Taylor
has inspired her
inspired her music.
There's irony in Olivia
doing this for Taylor
when Taylor is not trying
to do this for the two men
who are suing her
about "Shake It Off."
And maybe
that's all Sean Hall wanted.
And if that's the case
then I do understand them
being kind of upset.
It's challenging.
This situation is challenging
because, you know, it's been a while.
It's been going on for a long time,
and it's personal.
It feels personal.
Again, when you respect other artists
when you respect
other songwriters
you give credit
where credit is due.
And you obtain a license.
I definitely feel like
if there was a conversation
with Taylor or her team,
things would be a lot different.
We probably wouldn't
be talking right now.
We would have figured out
what worked for both parties
and it would have been done.
And that's what we expected.
That's what we thought
was going to happen
because it happens every day.
If we know anything
about Taylor Swift
it's that she does not
shy away from a fight.
Taylor Swift has become a sort of
unexpected champion
of creator's rights.
When she went after Spotify...
Abruptly pulling all of her albums
from the streaming service Spotify.
for their rates, which are paltry.
She has taken on Apple...
Apple completely changed its policies
that they spent months negotiating.
And it shows that she has
unbelievable power.
which she said didn't pay
the creators fairly, which is true.
You know, as a songwriter advocate,
she's really done tremendous work.
Taylor Swift is making
big news this morning.
She's bringing her music back
to streaming services.
She used her platform
to be able to help other artists.
She has been around for
almost 20 years at this point.
And... Oh, my god, I'm old.
She has had
so many different feuds
and so many
different controversies.
I'mma let you finish.
Fights she has waged.
Like, I mean, literally
the attorney general is now
investigating Ticketmaster
because the Swifties
couldn't get their tickets.
You know what I mean?
If you want to get something done
get it done with Taylor
and the Swifties.
I'm still someone who is the first
to apologize when I'm wrong.
But I think I'm better
at standing up for myself
when I've been wronged.
Team Taylor
versus team everybody else.
The list just goes on and on.
When you go up against
a star like Taylor Swift
you're going up against a machine.
It goes beyond David and Goliath.
Think of like half a David
against, like, two times Goliath.
And this time, maybe David
doesn't have God on his side.
Sean and Nate's legal team
had a plan all along
that they were going to
go to trial
because they wanted to hear
from Taylor Swift herself.
We will ask for depositions
for the songwriters
including Taylor Swift.
And then the jury will be selected
and this case will be tried
in federal court in Los Angeles.
Yes, we expect
Taylor Swift to testify.
We're hoping it will be.
It probably will be a media circus.
I didn't say they haven't offered it.
I also didn't say that they did.
You know, settlement negotiations
between parties are confidential
and cannot be discussed in public.
Can this case settle?
Anything is possible.
It's like, it's really hard to know
where your sympathy lays
in these situations.
But in terms of "Shake It Off"
look, she has so many hits
to her name
that giving up 50% of this one song
is not going to break the bank.
She's going to be absolutely fine.
And, you know, many artists have
preemptively gone through this step.
And I wouldn't be surprised
if they settled, too
because the publicness of a trial
I think, is much more
damaging ultimately
and the payout could be much larger.
It was a quiet Monday, slow news day.
And all of a sudden,
my phone is going off.
Taylor Swift has finally shaken off
a copyright infringement lawsuit
over "Shake It Off."
It's a copyright infringement case
with huge industry implications.
The judge dismissed the case
with prejudice that...
Swift denied the allegations
and now both sides
have agreed to end the suit.
No word on the terms
of any settlement
between the parties.
The lawsuit has been dropped.
It's been dismissed.
There's gonna be no trial
and everybody is wondering,
how did this happen?
And why?
So, there's a question
of who wins, right?
Are there winners
or losers in this case?
And I honestly think
there are no winners, no losers.
And I think, ultimately,
their stalemate is a win for music
because it opens the door
for each nuanced case
that comes after it
to be judged on its own merit
and without the noise
of the precedent
that would have been set
if Taylor Swift won
or if Sean and Nathan won.
But if she would have won this case
it could have been
a nail in the coffin
for multiple small artists
who feel like their influence
and impact has influenced
large swaths of people and megastars
and they don't get to see
any of the benefit of that.
And the folks
that usually experience that
are black folks.
When you have black success
it resonates so much more
in the black community
and in the brown community.
And then you have
a mainstream artist come
and try to replicate that
it's like, well, what can we have?
Everyone who creates art stands
on someone's shoulder
whether they consume that art.
You might not be directly
influenced by this person
but you're influenced by someone
who is influenced by someone
that you're inspired by.
You know, a lot of people said,
you know, her pockets are deep
and, you know,
her reach is far, and...
Do you know what this weight
is you're about to lift?
Do you understand the size
and magnitude of it?
I said, "Yeah, I get it."
But we don't want to be used.
And we don't want to be appropriated.
What advice would you give to anyone
who wants to become a singer?
Get a good lawyer.