The post Taylor Swift Files Motion in “Shake It Off” Lawsuit: Lyrics Were “Written Entirely by Me” appeared first on Consequence.
Taylor Swift has filed a new summary judgment motion in an ongoing copyright lawsuit claiming some of the lyrics to her 2014 hit “Shake It Off” were lifted from 3LW’s “Playas Gon’ Play.” In a sworn declaration, the superstar stated the lyrics “were written entirely by me” and claimed she “had never heard of that song” or 3LW until the suit was filed by “Playas Gon’ Play” songwriters Sean Hall and Nathan Butler.
“The lyrics to ‘Shake It Off’ were written entirely by me,” Swift wrote (via Billboard). “Until learning about Plaintiffs’ claim in 2017, I had never heard the song ‘Playas Gon’ Play’ and had never heard of that song or the group 3LW.”
The singer explained that she “drew partly on experiences in my life and, in particular, unrelenting public scrutiny of my personal life, ‘clickbait’ reporting, public manipulation, and other forms of negative personal criticism which I learned I just needed to shake off and focus on my music” while writing the lyrics.
In the statement, Swift also said she had heard variations of the relevant phrases “players gonna play” and “haters gonna hate” throughout her life on “countless” occasions, including while growing up in Pennsylvania and Tennessee.
“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,'” she said. “I drew on those commonly used player and hater phrases in creating the lyrics ‘Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play/ And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate.'”
Swift added that she’d heard the phrases “in many songs, films, and other works” before writing her song, including Eric Church’s “The Outsiders,” where he sings, “The player’s gonna play and a haters gonna hate.” She also mentioned wearing a t-shirt purchased at Urban Outfitters with the phrase “haters gonna hate” during a 2013 live performance.
Elsewhere in the motion, Swift explained that her parents “did not permit me to watch TRL until I was about 13 years old.” She continued, “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 this claim was made. I do not own and have never listened to the albums Now That’s What I Call Music! 6 or Now That’s What I Call Call Music! 7.”
To that end, Taylor’s mother Andrea Swift filed a statement (via Pitchfork) saying she “carefully monitored both the television she watched and the music she heard” while adding, “Taylor did not attend sleepovers at friends’ houses as a young girl because we lived on a farm until she was 10 years old and I always preferred having friends come over to our home.”
Hall and Butler first filed the lawsuit in September 2017, claiming “Shake It Off” steals the aforementioned lyrics from “Playas Gon’ Play.” US District Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald then dismissed the case in February 2018, ruling that “the allegedly infringed lyrics are short phrases that lack the modicum of originality and creativity required for copyright protection.” One year later, however, a federal appeals court reversed that ruling, saying the “Playas Gon’ Play” lyrics were creative enough for copyright protection.
In December, Judge Fitzgerald turned down Swift’s request to throw out the case, saying there were “enough objective similarities” between the songs that a jury would have to decide. Monday’s filing, including Swift’s declaration, was another effort to avoid a trial. Her attorneys also said discovery had uncovered other “fatal flaws” in the lawsuit.
Swift’s most recent song was “Carolina” off the soundtrack to Where the Crawdads Sing. The artist’s last two original albums were 2020’s evermore and folklore, after which she released her latest re-recorded LPs: Red (Taylor’s Version) and Fearless (Taylor’s Version). In June, she joined HAIM to perform a mashup of “Love Story” and “Gasoline” at London’s O2 Arena.