Taylor Swift must face a jury trial amid the ongoing copyright lawsuit over her song "Shake It Off".
The singer was sued by songwriters Sean Hall and Nathan Butler in 2017, with them accusing Swift of copying their 2001 song "Playas Gon' Play" with her 2014 smash hit.
They alleged she stole the lyrics from their 3LW song, which features the line, "Playas, they gon' play and haters, they gonna hate", with the chorus of Shake It Off, which begins, "'Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play and the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate."
And on Thursday, U.S. District Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald refused Swift's request to throw out the case. He decided that even though there were "some noticeable differences" between the two songs, there were "enough objective similarities" that he could not dismiss the case himself.
"Even though there are some noticeable differences between the works, there are also significant similarities in word usage and sequence/structure," the judge wrote, reports Billboard. "Although Defendants' experts strongly refute the implication that there are substantial similarities, the Court is not inclined to overly credit their opinions here."
The singer has yet to respond to the decision, while a lawyer for Hall and Butler said they were "moving closer to the justice they so richly deserve".
"The opinion... is especially gratifying to them because it reinforces the idea that their creativity and unique expression cannot be misappropriated without any retribution," said their attorney Marina Bogorad.
A date has not yet been set for the trial.
The copyright infringement case was originally dismissed by Judge Fitzgerald in 2018, as he believed the lyrics were "short phrases that lack the modicum of originality and creativity required for copyright protection". However, a federal appeals court overturned the ruling the following year, deciding that "playas gon' play" was creative enough for copyright protection.