Taylor Swift Wins Copyright Lawsuit, But The Judge Was Too Punny

After days of deliberation, a California judge on Tuesday dismissed the copyright lawsuit filed against musician-songwriter Taylor Swift by singer Jessie Braham.

United States District Court Judge Gail Standish tossed the suit out the window, and even used some of Swift’s lyrics to explain her verdict to dismiss the case.

“At present, the Court is not saying that Braham can never, ever, ever get his case back in court. But, for now, we have got problems, and the Court is not sure Braham can solve them.

The obvious puns came from words used in Swift’s song, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.”

Earlier this month, Braham, who records as Jesse Graham, filed the lawsuit himself in federal court, claiming that TayTay plagiarized his song “Haters Gonna Hate,” which was released in 2013. He said that “92 percent” of Swift’s song was derived from his, and 70 words were copied.

The song “Shake It Off”, which comes from Taylor Swift’s 1989 album, has the lyrics “Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play. And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, and the fakers gonna fake, fake, fake, fake, fake.” The album has already sold 8.6 million copies worldwide, while the song made its debut at number one in the Billboard Hot 100 in September 2014. It also won Favorite Song at the 2015 People’s Choice Awards, and received nominations during the 2015 Grammy Awards.

Watch The Taylor Swift Song That Inspired The $42 Million Lawsuit

Braham’s song has the lyrics “Haters gone hate, playas gone play. Watch out for them fakers, they’ll fake you every day.” He said he posted a video of the song on YouTube in December 2013. Earlier that year, he claimed he had copyrighted the song.

Jesse Graham Sued Taylor Swift For This Song

In his lawsuit, he claimed that if he did not write his song, Taylor Swift would not have written her song either. In effect, he had asked for $42 million in damages from both Taylor Swift and Sony. In addition, he wanted to be given songwriter’s credit for the song. This means any new print of the song would include his name as a co-songwriter of the 2014 hit.

However, the judge said that Braham did not provide “enough factual evidence” in the case, and as a result, the lawsuit remained at a speculative level. In addition, the Copyright Act does not protect short phrases such as the ones in Braham’s songs. This is due to the fact that short phrases are, more often than not, common expressions that are used in colloquial conversations. Moreover, the lawsuit was handwritten by Braham in part, and there were blank pages, numerous grammar and spelling errors, which just means that it was made by a non-legal professional.

The California judge definitely took notice and referred to it in the ruling. “As currently drafted, the Complaint has a blank space — one that requires Braham to do more than write his name. And, upon consideration of the Court’s explanation… Braham may discover that mere pleading Band-Aids will not fix the bullet holes in his case. At least for the moment, Defendants have shaken off this lawsuit,” wrote Standish with some words from another Taylor Swift song, “Blank Space.”

In addition to filing the lawsuit without an attorney, Braham/Graham also asked the court to waive the fees because his last employment had been in 2006.

Braham is an R&B singer who also runs a non-denominational church in the U.S., New Day Worldwide.

While the dismissal of the case is a big blow to Braham, it may not be too late for him. The judge kept the door open for the singer to file another lawsuit in the future. Obviously, she would want the suit to have factual evidence and be written by a professional.

[Image by Frazer Harrison, Getty Images]

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