Enter your email to read this article
Read news on any topic, in one place, from publishers like The Economist, FT, Bloomberg and more.

Taylor Swift denies she stole ‘Shake It Off’ lyrics saying hit song was ‘written entirely by me’ as she responds in copyright lawsuit

Taylor Swift (Isabel Infantes/PA)

Taylor Swift has denied allegations of copyright infringement on her hit track “Shake It Off”.

“The lyrics to ‘Shake It Off’ were entirely written by me”, Swift said in paperwork filed in response to the allegation from two songwriters from the band 3LW. They have said that Swift’s 2014 hit infringed upon a single from the group that peaked at No. 81 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2001.

In a filing first reported on by Billboard, Swift wrote: “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 added that she would have had little opportunity to hear it during its brief chart run because her parents “did not permit me to watch (MTV’s hit countdown show) TRL until I was about 13 years old.”

Her mother, Andrea Swift, also filed a statement saying that she “carefully monitored both the television [Swift] watched and the music she heard” as well as the shared home computer.

She added: “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.”

She also argued that any similar phrasing is a result of terminology being used as part of everyday language, which was part of the vernacular before Sean Hall and Nathan Butler wrote “Playas Gon’ Play”.

Continuing the filing, the Pennsylvania-born star wrote: “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.

She added: “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.’ … 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.”

Video of the Day

This is the second time that Swift has had to defend the lyrics for the song.

The copyright lawsuit was originally filed in 2017, but later dropped.

However, after it was appealed one year later, a judge recently ruled that the case would go to trial and be decided by a jury.

The claim was filed by songwriters Sean Hall and Nathan Butler, who are accusing Swift of plagiarising their 2001 track “Playas Gon’ Play’’ for band 3WL.

The musician detailed how 2014’s “Shake It Off” came about with co-writers Max Martin and Shellback

Swift claims that Shellback made the drumbeat, while Martin and Swift collaborated to make the melody. Swift then ad-libbed the lyrics, she claims.

Co-writers Martin and Shellback also deny hearing the song prior to the lawsuit.

“Shake It Off” appears on Swift’s fifth studio album 1989.

In an initial dismissal of the case, federal judge Michael Fitzgerald wrote the lyrics were “too brief, unoriginal and uncreative” to be protected.

He added: “In the early 2000s, popular culture was adequately suffused with the concepts of players and haters to render the phrases ‘playas … gonna play’ or ‘haters … gonna hate’ standing on their own, no more creative than ‘runners gonna run,’ ‘drummers gonna drum,’ or ‘swimmers gonna swim’.”

Subsequently, on having the case returned to him by a higher court, the judge said Swift’s lawyers “made a strong closing argument”, adding it was not so clear-cut that leaving it to a jury was unwarranted.

In the new motion, Swift’s lawyer, Peter Anderson, wrote: “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.”

Related Stories
Taylor Swift files in Shake It Off copyright lawsuit: ‘The lyrics were written entirely by me’
Singer had been sued by writers of 3LW’s 2000 song Playas Gon’ Play for alleged plagiarism, and the case is due to return to court
From analysis to the latest developments in health, read the most diverse news in one place.
Taylor Swift files in ‘Shake It Off’ plagiarism lawsuit stating that the lyrics were ‘written entirely by me’
Swift had been sued by writers of 3LW’s 2000 song Playas Gon’ Play for alleged plagiarism
Taylor Swift says lyrics to Shake It Off were ‘written entirely by me’
The pop megastar has hit back at complainants in a US copyright lawsuit over her hit song.
Taylor Swift says she never listened to 3LW before writing 'Shake It Off'
Taylor Swift says she had never heard of the group 3LW or their 2001 song "Playas Gon' Play" before a lawsuit was filed against her accusing her of stealing lyrics.
Taylor Swift hits back at copyright lawsuit over Shake It Off
The pop megastar says lyrics to the song were ‘written entirely by me’
One place to find news on any topic, from hundreds of sites.
'The Queens' of Beyoncé and Madonna's 'Break My Soul' remix have spoken: 'In tears'
All hail the queens of Beyoncé and Madonna's "Break My Soul (The Queens Remix)," who are officially losing their minds over their shout-outs from the supreme Queen Bey.