Features Exclusive Interview with Plaintiff and Songwriter Sean Hall
CNN will investigate the copyright lawsuit brought by songwriters Sean Hall and Nathan Butler against Taylor Swift for her hit song “Shake it Off” in Taking On Taylor Swift. The case was settled and subsequently dismissed on December 12, 2022. Produced by the CNN FlashDocs unit, the hour-long special asks larger questions about creators’ rights and originality in an industry rocked by multiple lawsuits targeting some of the world’s biggest pop stars. Taking On Taylor Swift premieres Friday, December 23 at 9pm ET/PT.
Since its release in 2014, Swift been accused that that the chorus of her hit song, “Shake It Off” (“’cause the players gonna play, play, play…”) is a direct lift from the 2000 song, “Playas Gon’ Play” written by Hall and Butler, and made famous by the girl group, 3LW. For the first time since taking legal action in 2017, Hall is speaking exclusively to CNN.
Taking On Taylor Swift scrutinizes the legal and ethical issues of the case and explores cultural appropriation, featuring insights from songwriters, Tayla Parx and Kandi Burruss, and the music industry’s leading journalists, including Shirley Halperin (Variety), Sidney Madden (NPR), Mikael Wood (Los Angeles Times) and Emily St. James (Vox Media).
For CNN FlashDocs, Eric Johnson serves as an Executive Producer and Emily Taguchi serves as Supervising Producer. The unit is led by Katie Hinman, Vice President of Program Development for CNN Worldwide.
Taking On Taylor Swift will stream live for pay TV subscribers via CNN.com and CNN OTT and mobile apps, or CNNgo where available. The doc will also be available On Demand beginning December 24 to pay TV subscribers via CNN.com, CNN apps, and Cable Operator Platforms.
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Sophie Tran, CNN FlashDocs Unit
Jordan Overstreet, CNN FlashDocs Unit