- 10 Aug 22
Taylor Swift responds to copyright lawsuit for her hit song 'Shake It Off'.
Taylor Swift's immensely popular track 'Shake It Off' came out eight years ago as part of her 2014 album 1989. In the song she uses the lyrics "because the players gonna play, play, play, play, play / and the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate / Baby, I'm just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake / I shake it off, I shake it off".
The copyright claim is being levelled by songwriters Sean Hall and Nate Butler. The pair wrote the song 'Playas Gon' Play' for 3LW in 2000 and claim that Swift plagiarised their track.
Swift released a public statement on Monday maintaining that the lyrics to the hit-song were entirely written by herself. The 36-year-old insists that she had no prior knowledge or exposure to the 2000's cut, her mom having censored her media content to include access to MTV.
The lawsuit was initiated in 2017 only to be overruled by a judge who declared enough objective differences for the claim to be void. However, the songwriters are back for another try and the court has decided to pick up the case.
The country-turned-pop star talked about her song saying: "With 'Shake It Off', I wanted to provide a comedic, empowering approach to helping people feel better about negative criticism through music, dance, and the personal independence enabling one to just shake off the negative criticism.
"The lyrics to 'Shake It Off' also draw from commonly used phrases and comments heard throughout my life." Swift cited 'players gonna play' and 'haters gonna hate' as classic turns of phrase encouraging the abandonment of negative feelings.
As one of the biggest musicians of our generation, Swift has faced her fair share of negative media coverage, doubt, and cruelty. She wrote this song as a way to positively address that continuous experience.
The US musician shared that "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."
This is not the first time Swift has been accused of not writing original material. As recently as June of this year, Damon Albarn, an English musician, discredited the musician in an interview with the Los Angeles Times saying "she doesn't write any of her own songs". Swift responded to the quote on Twitter with the support of her fans then and she's back to defend her work to the public again now.
PS I wrote this tweet all by myself in case you were wondering 😑
— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) January 24, 2022
In a similar case, Ed Sheeran and his co-songwriters won a copyright lawsuit earlier this year. His popular track 'Shape of You' from 2017 was under dispute but was ultimately ruled to be Sheeran's original work. The English singer-songwriter and past collaborater with Taylor Swift was cleared with the determination that Sheeran “neither deliberately nor subconsciously" copied a line in the song by Sami Chokri and Ross O'Donoghue.
Read the Hot Press article on Sheeran's case here.