Taylor Swift responded to a 2017 lawsuit claiming that she stole lyrics from 3LW’s 2001 single, “Playas Gon’ Play.” The 32-year-old filed a motion on Monday (Aug. 8), claiming the lyrics to her 2017 song “Shake It Off” were “written entirely by me.”
Swift wrote, “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.” The “Blank Space” singer continued, “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.'”
She also highlighted that she’s heard the disputed phrase used in “many songs, films, and other works” and pointed out a 2013 performance where she wore an Urban Outfitters graphic T-shirt that read, “Haters gonna hate.” Swift explained, “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.”
A judge previously dismissed the copyright lawsuit in 2018 but songwriters Sean Hall and Nathan Butler appealed the case the following year. Swift wrote she had never heard of the girl group before the lawsuit. She added, “Until learning about Plaintiff’s claim in 2017, I had never heard the song ‘Playas Gon’ Play’ and had never heard of that song or the group 3LW.” Swift says her parents didn’t allow her to watch “TRL” until she was about 13 years old.
The motion continued, “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.” In December 2021, a judge ruled the case was too close to call and decided to send the case to trial. But the singer’s attorneys want to forego a trial, and they’re requesting a summary judgment. Swift’s lawyer Peter Anderson said in Monday’s 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.”