Wednesday, August 10, 2022 – Grammy award winning singer, Taylor Swift and her legal team hit back in a copyright lawsuit in which the singer-songwriter is accused of stealing lyrics of her hit song, “Shake It Off.”
Sean Hall and Nathan Butler, who wrote 3LW’s 2000 song “Playas Gon’ Play,” are accusing the superstar of using their words.
In a Monday August 8 court filing, Swift’s legal team insisted that she wrote 2014’s “Shake It Off” by herself, while her attorney accused Hall and Butler of trying to cash in on the song’s huge success.
“The lyrics to Shake It Off were written entirely by me,” Swift said in a declaration, as reported by The Guardian. “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.”
Swift claimed that she was just 11 when “Playas Gon’ Play,” was released, and that she was not allowed to watch MTV’s “Total Request Live” music video countdown show until she was “about 13 years old.”
Even Swift’s mother Andrea Swift filed an accompanying statement in which she said that she kept a close watch over the media her daughter was exposed to at home.
Swift’s lawyer claimed in a motion filed with the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California that Hall and Butler were merely trying to cash in on the success of Swift’s song.
“It is, unfortunately, not unusual for a hit song to be met by litigants hoping for a windfall based on tenuous claims that their own song was copied. But even against that background, Plaintiffs’ claim sticks out as particularly baseless,” the motion said.
Swift said that she wrote the song using “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.”
The superstar said she included “commonly used phrases and comments heard,” which included “players gonna play” and “haters gonna hate.”
The two phrases are rhymed with each other in the choruses of Swift and Sean Hall and Nathan Butler’s song.
The lawsuit was first filed in 2017, but a judge dismissed it after Swift argued that the phrases in question were not original enough to warrant copyright protection.
An Appeals court then reversed the decision, reviving the claim and a subsequent motion to dismiss failed when the court ruled that Hall and Butler “sufficiently alleged a protectable selection and arrangement or a sequence of creative expression.”