- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
The songstress has been fighting accusations of infringement for years.
If you've been living under a rock these past few years, Taylor Swift has been accused of plagiarizing her 2014 hit single "Shake It Off." This week, she responded to the accusation in a new court filing.
According to Newsweek, the case was initially filed by Sean Hall and Nathan Butler, who accused Swift of lyrically ripping off their 2000 track "Playas Gon' Play," which was recorded by 3LW in 2017.
The following year district judge Michael W. Fitzgerald dismissed the case, saying the lyrics were too "banal" to be copyrighted and referencing several other songs that featured similar phrases, as reported by The Guardian. That dismissal was overturned in 2019, and now Swift is set to face a jury trial over the accusation.
On August 8, 2022, Swift submitted a written declaration ahead of the trial denying all allegations of copyright infringement, according to court documents obtained by Parade.com.
In separate signed statements, Swift and her mother Andrea both said that the singer had had little to no exposure to popular music growing up, and that neither had heard of 3LW or their song until after being made aware of the lawsuit, several years after "Shake It Off" was written.
"I did not work outside the home during Taylor's childhood and have direct, personal knowledge of the music to which she was exposed growing up," Andrea wrote. She said she monitored not only the music Swift listened to but the TV that she watched, which was already limited due to school and extracurriculars. The music Swift consumed was primarily country and musical theater, per her mother, who also said she didn't allow Swift to watch MTV until she was 13 or 14. By the time Swift started getting into pop music, Andrea says her consumption was still "sparing" due to rehearsal and performance scheduled.
In Swift's defense, the songwriter also revealed new details about the songwriting process for the 1989 lead single. She co-wrote "Shake It Off" in February 2014 with Max Martin and Shellback. "I wanted to write a song that would help me cope with stresses in my life," she wrote. She also wanted the song to make people get up and dance. "With that in mind, Shellback created a drum beat and Max Martin, Shellback, and I began collaboratively improvising musical lines to the drum beat." She said she leaned into the idea of not only shaking negativity off but also shaking as it related to dancing.
As such, she confirmed that the lyrics to "Shake It Off" were written entirely by her, about "independence and 'shaking off' negative personal criticism through music and dance" based on how she had learned to shake things off and focus on her music. Especially "unrelenting public scrutiny of my personal life, 'clickbait' reporting, public manipulation, and other forms of negative personal criticism…"
Swift also referenced commonly heard phrases that she included in the lyrics. "Prior to writing 'Shake It Off' I had heard the phrases' players gonna play' and 'haters gonna hate' uttered countless times to express the idea that one can or should shrug off negativity." She remembered hearing those phrases as far back as elementary school, likening them to the phrase "take a chill pill," among others, and noted several other songs, films, and other works that included similar wording.
According to The Guardian, Hall and Butler released a statement in response, saying, "This is defendants' fourth attempt to make these claims go away, so defendants' labeling them as baseless rings hollow at this point." This isn't the first lawsuit filed against Swift for the track, though. In 2015, a judge threw out a similar suit from Jesse Braham that alleged Swift had ripped off his 2013 song "Haters Gone Hate."