Singer-songwriter Taylor Swift, who is being sued by Sean Hall and Nathan Butler, the songwriters of the 2001 song “Playas Gon’ Play” by 3LW for plagiarism, has personally responded to the lawsuit.
Taylor Swift responds to ‘Shake It Off’ plagiarism lawsuit – “I had never heard of that song or the group”
According to the paperwork filed by the singer in the court, Swift stated that she has never heard the song she is being accused of copying. Moreover, she also reiterated that she herself wrote the lyrics of the song in question. "The lyrics to ‘Shake It Off’ were written entirely by me," Swift claimed in her declaration. "Until learning of plaintiff’s claim in 2017, I had never heard of the song ‘Play’s Gon’ Play’ and had never heard of that song or group 3LW."
According to Variety, the pop star and her legal aid made the case that any similar phrasing is a result of the terminology being a part of everyday language, and was part of the popular vernacular before Sean Hall and Nathan Butler wrote “Playas Gon’ Play” around the turn of the century — at which point the hitmaker says she was hearing that language on the playground, not on the airwaves.
“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,” Taylor wrote.. “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.’ … I was struck by messages that people prone to doing something will do it, and the best way to overcome it is to shrug it off and keep living.”
The 3LW song contains the lyrics “playas, they gonna play” and “haters, they gonna hate” while Taylor’s song goes by, “‘Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play and the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate.” Swift noted that the phrasing was common enough that she had worn a T-shirt bearing the words “haters gonna hate” at a 2013 concert — one that was not custom-made, but purchased at Urban Outfitters.
The plagiarism lawsuit was first set aside by a judge in 2018. The following year, the suit was reinstated by an appeals court. Per the report, it’s due to be decided by a jury at an undetermined date in the future, but Swift’s attorney Peter Anderson is arguing that further evidence shows the plaintiffs’ claims are baseless enough to not warrant a trial.
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