Taylor Swift has stated in a statement that was submitted to a federal court on Monday that “the words to ‘Shake It Off’ were written solely by me,” thereby denying any allegations of copyright infringement over her hit song from 2014 titled “Shake It Off.”
Swift was initially taken to court over the song in 2017 by songwriters Sean Hall and Nathan Butler, who asserted that she had stolen words from their song “Playas Gon’ Play” by 3LW, which had been released in 2001.
Their claim is predicated on the fact that the songs “Playas Gon’ Play” and “Shake It Off” both contain different iterations of the phrases “hater’s going to hate” and “player’s going to play.”
The lawsuit that was filed by Butler and Hall in 2018 was first thrown out, but a panel of federal judges overturned that decision a year later, ruling that the case was prematurely dropped.
At the end of the year 2021, a federal court made the decision that the lawsuit will proceed to trial. Swift mentioned the origins of writing the song with co-writers Max Martin and Shellback in her newly filed declaration.
She mentioned that Shellback was the one who made the drumbeat for the track, and Martin, Shellback, and Swift all worked together to make the musical lines with it.
Taylor Swift also mentioned that Martin and Shellback were involved in the creative process. Swift was always coming up with new lyrics on the spot as she sang them.
She went on to say that she had never heard of “Playas Gon’ Play” before the lawsuit was brought against her, and that the similarities between her song and “Playas Gon’ Play” only exist due to the fact that expressions such as “hater’s going to hate” are common in many cultures.
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 that I learned I just needed to shake off and focus on my music.”
“In writing the lyrics, I drew partly on experiences in my life and, in particular, unrelenting public scrutiny of my personal life,” she wrote. “Before I wrote ‘Shake it Off,’ I had heard the phrases ‘players going to play’ and ‘haters going to hate’ uttered countless times to express the idea that one should shrug off negativity.
Before I wrote ‘Shake it Off,’ I had heard these phrases used to express the idea that one should shrug off negativity. She went on to say, “I also recall hearing similar player and hater phrases in many songs, films, and other works prior to ‘Shake it Off.'”
More specifically, she recalled hearing Eric Church use the same lyrics in his song “The Outsiders” when she was at the 2013 Country Music Awards.
She said that she was inspired to write the song after hearing Eric Church sing it. On Monday, Swift and her legal team submitted a number of documents, including a declaration written by Swift.
Swift’s mother, Andrea Swift, as well as co-writers Martin and Shellback, also submitted affidavits on Monday. Both of the authors stated that prior to the case, they were unaware of whom 3LW was and had never heard the song “Playas Gon’ Play.
Her legal team also sought the federal court to issue a summary judgement, which would exonerate Taylor Swift and the other defendants from any allegations of infringing on her client’s intellectual property rights.
They have not been successful in getting the case thrown out up to this point. Martin said something quite similar to what Swift stated in her proclamation, saying that “Shellback began with a drumbeat.”
Following that, Shellback, Ms. Swift, and I worked together to build the melody and other lines of ‘Shake It Off’ to Shellback’s drumming.
I did not write any lyrics for ‘Shake It Off, nor did I provide any input into any of those lyrics, which were written exclusively by Ms. Swift.