Taylor Swift has told a federal court that she wrote all of the lyrics to her 2014 hit "Shake It Off," and said she had never heard of the group 3LW or their 2001 song "Playas Gon' Play" before a lawsuit was filed against her.
Swift made these statements in a declaration this week over the case originally filed in 2017 by Sean Hall and Nathan Butler, who wrote "Playas Gon' Play" and allege that Swift stole some of its lyrics for "Shake It Off."
The lawsuit focuses on Swift's chorus, which include the phrases, "'the players gonna play, play, play," and "the haters gonna hate, hate, hate." The 3LW songwriters point out that the 2001 song contains the lyrics, "playas, they gonna play, and haters, they gonna hate."
She said that the phrases "players gonna play" and "haters gonna hate" were part of popular culture as she was growing up, and often used "to express the idea that one can or should shrug off negativity."
Swift said her lyrics did not have any influence from 3LW and instead, is about "independence and 'shaking off' negative personal criticism through music and dance."
"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," Swift said.
In her declaration, Swift provides examples to illustrate her point that the phrases were widely used, including a 2013 performance by Eric Church at the Country Music Awards. Church performed his song "The Outsiders," which also includes the lyrics "the player's gonna play and a hater's gonna hate."
At one of her own performances in 2013, Swift says she wore a T-shirt with the phrase "haters gonna hate" on it, and added that she purchased the shirt from Urban Outfitters.
Swift concluded that she had "never heard the song Playas Gon' Play and had never heard of that song or the group 3LW," before the lawsuit by Hall and Butler in 2017.
"None of the CDs I listened to as a child, or after that, were by 3LW," Swift said. "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."
Here's more from her declaration:
"I have never seen a Playas Gon' Play music video, never attended any concert where 3LW performed, and never attended any concert where the song Playas Gon' Play was performed. I do not own any 3LW albums or singles, or any recording of Playas Gon' Play. I do not own and have never listened to the albums Now That's What I Call Music! 6 or Now That's What I Call Music! 7. I did not discuss Playas Gon' Play or 3LW with anyone prior to this lawsuit. I have never subscribed to Billboard magazine and had never read anything in the magazine until after I moved to Nashville and became immersed in the music business."
Hall and Butler have said that they coined the phrase, and that while it "may seem like common parlance today," it was "completely original and unique" when they wrote the song.
The next hearing in this case is scheduled for Sept. 19.
I'ma 30 year old man, ma, ma, man, man which means of fucking course I remember 3LW's Y2K banger "No More (Baby I'ma Do Right)."
But apparently Taylor Swift does not based on her declaration for the copyright lawsuit this story and blog are about.
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. With “Shake It Off,” I wanted to provide a comedic, empowering approach to helping people feel better about negative criticism through music, dance, and the personal independence enabling one to just shake off the negative criticism.
The lyrics to “Shake It Off” also draw from commonly used phrases and comments heard throughout my life. Prior to writing “Shake It Off,” I had heard the phrases “players gonna play” and “haters gonna hate” uttered countless times to express the idea that one can or should shrug off negativity. 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.” I drew on those commonly used player and hater phrases in creating the lyrics “Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play / And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate.”
I also recall hearing similar player and hater phrases in many songs, films, and other works prior to “Shake It Off.” For example, I was present at the 2013 Country Music Awards and heard Eric Church perform his song “The Outsiders,” which includes the lyric “the player’s gonna play and a haters gonna hate.”
Swift also mentioned that her parents “did not permit [her] to watch TRL until [she] was about 13 years old” later in today’s motion. “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,” she wrote. “I do not own and have never listened to the albums Now That’s What I Call Music! 6 or Now That’s What I Call Call Music! 7.”
Andrea Swift, Taylor’s mother, also filed a statement as part of the new motion today. The elder Swift wrote that she “carefully monitored both the television she watched and the music she heard” in addition to the shared home computer. “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.”
I'm not a huge Taylor Swift guy. I mean, I fucked with her in high school and early college. Who doesn't like "Love Story?" I listened to Speak Now all the time my freshman year of college because my then gf and her best friend played it every time we were in a car. Don't get me wrong, "Better Than Revenge" and "Haunted" are my shit to this day. I won't skip them on shuffle, even with passengers in the Ub. I dug "Shake It Off" when it came out during my 2nd senior year and even got some love from a future co-worker hyping it up.
I searched my photo library for 20ish minutes looking for the screenshot and couldn't find it, but Feits and I went back and forth once saying how good the "Shake It Off" is, but even then I was pandering to try and get on a Barstool blogger's good side. Maybe I featured it in the #HireDozo Manifesto? Read it to find out!
Anyways, I don't really listen to Taylor Swift. Not trying to be a hardo, I know she's super famous, but she's just not my swag anymore (I do love HAIM though). I'm simply trying to establish that I'm not biased or taking her side. If she did steal this from 3LW, then fuck her, pay them. I just think it's absolutely outrageous for 3LW to claim they invented this phrase or are owed any restitution, but according to U.S. District Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald, there's enough ground not to throw out the case.
I'm no lawyer and still don't fully understand the whole Paramore-Olivia Rodrigo situation from last year that's sort of similar to this, but it's not like 3LW owns the phrase "Haters gonna hate," right? It's not like they have a registered trademark. It feels like a slippery ass slope if they were to win this lawsuit.
To me, it seems like 3LW is trying to get the bag from one of the wealthiest musicians on earth. I don't blame them for trying. Have you seen her Westerly mansion? (should've gone the Newport route) "You miss all the shots you don't take"- Wayne Gretzky/Michael Scott/3LW.
As a writer, if someone used something from one of my blogs, went viral, and didn't give me credit, I'd be furious. My friends and I made up a million terms growing up, and a few caught on at school. It got contentious if someone tried to claim they invented something someone else did. If someone with more followers than me used "hashtag good guy" to make money, I'd want a little piece too, but do I really own a phrase that's probably been used before I started saying it as a joke that evolved into a full-on lifestyle?
Even though I'm not on Taylor Swift's side, I get not wanting to hand out money to anybody willing to file a frivolous lawsuit. If she caved here and gave 3LW some "leave me tf alone" money, maybe Jim Palmer sues her for using his jersey number as a basic bitch anthem?
I did a little research, and according to dictionary.com, this is the history of the phrase "haters gonna hate," and it favors 3LW.
They claim that 3LW "appears" to have the first usage of the lyric in a song, but this is far from conclusive evidence.
Given the not-so-chill history of white people stealing music (and other stuff) from black people without giving them the credit they deserve, it's a sorta touchy subject. Again, if Taylor Swift legitimately stole this concept from 3LW, should she have to pay the price. But IMO, this lawsuit just screams money grab from a group that's been irrelevant since before 9/11.
Based on what Taylor Swift and her mom have said, she wasn't allowed access to popular music. She never saw TRL until she was 13, which is a crime in itself, but "haters gonna hate" is a common phrase. I hate to sit on a fence, but I do see where both parties are coming from. Do millions of moms have a case against Lenny Kravitz for saying "Dig In" in a forgotten turn of the millennium bop? If anything, these now 3GW (3 grown women) should be counting their lucky stars that Big Pun isn't alive to sue THEM for ripping off "Still Not a Player."
"I'M STILL NOT A PLAYER BUT YOU STILL A HATER." WHAT ARE WE EVEN DOING HERE????? Throw this case away like Frank Reynolds once he dies. I do feel bad for the one member of 3LW that wasn't included in the Cheetah Girls, but I'm sorry this is such a stupid fucking lawsuit. Everybody steals from everybody in music. There's a million hack jokes about every song using the same three chords. If anything, my girl Florence has a case too! But in 3LW's defense, this article called out Taylor Swift for "probably" stealing in 2014.