Taylor Swift rejects plagiarism allegations over hit song "Shake It Off"
In response to a lawsuit filed in 2017, pop star Taylor Swift claims to be the sole writer of her 2014 hit “Shake It Off” and denies plagiarizing lyrics from the 2001 song “Playas Gon’ Play” by 3LW, which was written by songwriters Sean Hall and Nathan Butler.
Hall and Butler had previously filed the lawsuit in 2017, but was dismissed by the judge. However, they appealed in 2021, with judge Michael W. Fitzgerald allowing the suit, believing there were "enough objective similarities."
The duo cited similarities between 3LW's lyric "playas, they gon' play and haters they gonna hate" and Swift's lyric "playas gonna play, play, play, play, and the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate."
The 11-time Grammy Award winner responded to the lawsuit by saying, “The lyrics to Shake It Off were written entirely by me,” and asserted that she never heard of the song or the group 3LW.
Swift said that her parents never let her “watch TRL until I was about 13 years old. None of the CDs I listened to as a child or after that were by 3LW. I have never heard the song ‘Playas Gon’ Play’ on the radio, on television, or in any film. The first time I ever heard the song was after the claim was made.”
Later in her petition, Swift said that her inspiration for writing "Shake It Off" came from "unrelenting public scrutiny" of her personal life, "clickbait reporting, public manipulation," and other negativity that drove her to disregard the criticism and concentrate on her music.
"I recall hearing phrases about 'players play' and 'haters hate' stated together by other children while attending school in Wyomissing Hills, and in high school in Hendersonville," the singer said.
"These phrases were akin to other commonly used sayings like ‘don’t hate the playa, hate the game,’ ‘take a chill pill,’ and ‘say it, don’t spray it.’"
Her mother, Andrea Swift, also filed a statement saying that she “carefully monitored both the television watched and the music she heard” as well as the shared computer.
Last year, Swift was in the news for another reason relating to intellectual property. Newcomer Olivia Rodrigo recently raised eyebrows when Swift was given songwriting credits for two of Rodrigo’s songs. That’s not because Swift penned new songs for her, but rather because the tunes in question interpolated elements from two of Swift’s songs. Specifically, Rodrigo’s “Deja Vu” interpolated Swift’s “Cruel Summer”, while her “1 Step Forward, 3 Steps Back” interpolated Swift’s “New Year's Day”.
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