Facing Copyright Lawsuit, Taylor Swift Says “Shake It Off” Lyrics “Were Written Entirely By Me”

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

Facing a copyright lawsuit, acclaimed songwriter and performer Taylor Swift says her “Shake It Off” lyrics were written entirely by her.

The comments come in response to a 2017 copyright lawsuit that claims she stole the lyrics to her massive 2014 single. The suit contends she stole lyrics from the 2001 song, “Playas Gon’ Play” by the group 3LW.

Wrote Swift in a motion filed this week, according to Billboard, “The lyrics to ‘Shake It Off’ were written entirely by me.”

Swift added in the motion, “In writing the lyrics, I 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.

“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. 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.”

The disputed phrase is, “haters gonna hate.” Swift said prior to writing the track, she’d heard the line in “many songs, films and other works” and noted a concert in 2013 during which she wore a t-shirt from Urban Outfitters that read, “haters gonna hate.”

She added, “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.”

In 2018, a judge dismissed said lawsuit. But an appeals panel has since taken it up in 2021.

In December of last year, a judge said that it would ultimately be decided by a jury trial. No court date has been set.

Said Swift’s lawyer Peter Anderson in the motion, “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.”

Anderson is asking the judge to forego a trial.

Swift added that she never heard “Playas Gon’ Play” until 2017.

She said, “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.” She said that her parents “did not permit me to 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 this claim was made.”

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