When Taylor Swift released “Shake It Off” three years ago, I had two very strong reactions. My ears were in pain, and I couldn’t believe the audacity she had to rip off the 3LW 2001 hit “Playas Gon’ Play.” Taylor’s chorus sounded just a little too similar to 3LW’s chorus; the kind of similar that makes you call up a lawyer. And that’s what has happened, three years later, sure, but delayed justice for 3LW is still justice!
People have heard “Shake It Off” so many times they’re probably trying to forget what it sounds like, so I’m not going to provide an example of that. But for those who aren’t familiar with “Playas Gon’ Play,” here it is. The chorus begins at the 0:43 mark.
TMZ says that a lawsuit has recently been filed by Sean Hall and Nathan Butler, who claim they wrote “Playas Gon’ Play” back in 2001. Sean and Nathan say 20% of “Shake It Off” is theirs. At the very least, they’ve got an argument that part of the chorus is pretty much a direct rip-off. This is the beginning of the chorus to “Playas Gon’ Play“:
Playas they gonna play
And haters they gonna hate
And this is the beginning of the chorus of “Shake It Off“:
Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play
And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate
TMZ says Sean and Nathan want “a ton of money,” but they don’t specify how much. This is actually the second time Taylor has been sued regarding the chorus of “Shake It Off.” In 2015, an R&B singer named Jesse Braham sued Taylor for $42 million and accused her of ripping off his 2013 song “Haters Gone Hate.” That lawsuit was eventually dismissed.
Taylor’s rep released a statement to TMZ, and they’re shaking off the allegations of plagiarism:
“This is a ridiculous claim and nothing more than a money grab. The law is simple and clear. They do not have a case.”
The law they’re referring to is probably Swift’s Law of Absolute Litigation, i.e. that Taylor is the one who sues for copyright infringement. Diabolical mastermind Taylor has probably already formed an air-tight argument against Sean and Nathan to prove she’s the victim here. “If anything, you owe me sixteen years worth of royalties for your song, since mine is the greatest, most popular song about players playing and haters hating. SO GET OUT YOUR CHECKBOOK, BOYS.”