Taylor Swift Denies Hearing Song She's Accused Of Copying

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Taylor Swift has said she couldn’t have copied “Playas Gon’ Play” by 3LW when writing the lyrics to her 2014 hit “Shake It Off” because she had never heard of the song or the group.

“None of the CDs I listened to as a child, or after that, were by 3LW,” the singer said in a sworn declaration filed Monday by her lawyers. “I have never heard the song ‘Playas Gon’ Play’ on the radio, on television, or in any film.”

Sean Hall and Nathan Butler sued Swift in 2017 alleging her 2014 hit “Shake It Off” borrows from “Playas Gon’ Play,” a song released by 3LW in 2001 that includes the line “playas, they gonna play” and “haters, they gonna hate.” On her song, Swift sings: “‘Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play and the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate.”

A judge dismissed the claim in 2019 but a federal appeals court reversed his ruling. A date for a trial has not been set.

Swift said in her statement: “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.”

She said the lyrics were “written entirely by me” and based on things she heard “countless times” in her life. “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,” Swift wrote.

“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.’”

Swift’s lawyers are seeking a summary judgment because they believe the plaintiffs' case is not worthy of being presented to a jury.

“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,” lawyer Peter Anderson wrote. “But even against that background, Plaintiffs’ claim sticks out as particularly baseless.”

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