A federal court has rejected for Taylor Swift’s attempt to be reimbursed for legal expenses related to her victory over a claim that her 2014 single “Shake It Off” infringed a 2001 release.
Swift can well afford to pay her $75,000 legal bill, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California said in an April 16 ruling. And even though the creators of “Playas Gon’ Play” lost their infringement claim against her in February, the lawsuit wasn’t frivolous, the court said.
The court rejected Swift’s argument that a fee award would serve the public interest by deterring similar lawsuits in the future. Such a deterrent effect wouldn’t be in the interest of copyright owners with legitimate concerns over alleged infringement, the court said.
“There are very few recording artists, if any, who have a greater interest than Ms. Swift in a robust regime of copyright law,” the court said. “Be careful what you wish for.”
But the court said it would rather order payment of the losing plaintiffs’ legal expenses than Swift’s.
“If the Court’s only choice were between awarding fees to Defendants based on the Complaint or fees to Plaintiffs based on the Motion, the Court would without hesitation award the fees to Plaintiffs,” the court said.
Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald issued the court’s ruling.
The Law Offices of Peter J. Anderson APC represented Swift. Gerard Fox Law PC represented the plaintiffs.
Hall v. Swift, C.D. Cal., No. 17-6882, 4/16/18