Taylor Swift claims she could not have plagiarised the lyrics to her smash “Shake It Off” from a song she had never heard before.
Swift defended herself as the only creator of the 2014 song in a sworn affidavit filed on Monday, claiming that she wholly created the words of Shake It Off. It’s Swift’s latest response to a copyright infringement action launched by two songwriters from the band 3LW against her in 2017.
Swift’s lyric in question is “players gonna play,” which 3LW composers Sean Hall and Nathan Butler believe is too close to the band’s smash song “Playas Gon’ Play.”
That song peaked at No. 81 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2001, the year Swift turned 12. Swift stated that her parents would not allow her to watch MTV’s “TRL” countdown show until she was “around 13 years old,” meaning she would not have heard the song during its chart run.
3LW was not featured on any of the CDs she listened to as a youngster or later. Swift stated in the filing that she had never heard the song Playas Gon’ Play on the radio, on television, or in a film. She listened to the music for the first time after this claim was made.
Swift also mentioned the phrase’s popular usage, stating that prior to composing Shake It Off, she had heard the words ‘players going to play’ and ‘haters going to hate’ spoken innumerable times to communicate the concept that one can or should shrug off negativity.
A judge rejected the case in 2018, but an appellate panel reinstated it in 2021.