Taylor Swift is being accused of stealing lyrics for her song “Shake It Off” in a new lawsuit.
As reported by TMZ, songwriters Sean Hall and Nathan Butler are suing Swift because they claim she took lyrics from their 2001 song “Playas Gon’ Play,” which was recorded by 3LW. The song’s lyrics include the phrase “Players, they gonna play, and haters, they gonna hate.” In Swift’s song, she sings, “Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play, and the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate hate.” The two songs aren’t really similar other than both containing the phrases “players gonna play” and “haters gonna hate.”
Sean Hall and Nathan Butler say that 20 percent of “Shake It Off” is their song and that they therefore are entitled to royalties. While it has not yet been revealed how much money they are suing Swift for, TMZ reports that it is “a ton.” In a statement to TMZ, Swift’s representatives said, “This is a ridiculous claim and nothing more than a money grab. The law is simple and clear. They do not have a case.”
This is not the first time that Swift has been sued over this particular section of her song “Shake It Off.” In 2015, R&B singer Jesse Braham sued Swift, claiming she ripped off his 2013 song “Haters Gone Hate.” Once again, the issue came down to Swift’s use of that phrase and not to any other similarities between the songs.
That 2015 lawsuit was very quickly dismissed, with the judge pointing out that the phrases “haters gonna hate” and “players gonna play” existed long before Jesse Braham’s song; the judge actually cited 3LW’s “Playas Gon’ Play” as just one example, but the phrases have been used in dozens of songs since then.
Recently, Taylor Swift released a new song, “Look What You Made Me Do,” which is reminiscent of the 1991 Right Said Fred song “I’m Too Sexy.” But in that case, there are musical similarities between the songs, and Right Said Fred’s members are given a songwriting credit.