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Taylor Swift accused of lyrical theft in Shake It Off… again

By | Published on Wednesday 20 September 2017

Taylor Swift

If, like me, you’re trying to complete Panini’s ‘Sticker Book Of Plagiarism Lawsuits’, make sure you get yourself the new Taylor Swift sticker. Because she’s just been sued over the lyrics in her 2014 hit ‘Shake It Off’. Yes, again.

It’s songwriters Sean Hall and Nathan Butler who reckon Swift’s record nabbed lyrics from one of their songs, that song being the 2001 3LW track ‘Playas Gon Play’. Hall and Butler would have sued Swift et al sooner over the lyrical theft contained within ‘Shake It Off’, but it took this long for them to be willing to admit they wrote ‘Playas Gon Play’.

The alleged lyrical theft occurs in the key ‘Shake It Off’ line “Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play/And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate”, which Hall and Butler reckon is a full-on, straight-up, undeniable, in-your-face rip off of their lyric “The playas gon play/Them haters gonna hate”. Hmm, maybe.

And if you’re sitting there thinking, well, OK, those lines are pretty similar, but players playing and haters hating is a pretty generic concept, well, just wait until you hear what Hall and Butler’s lawyer Gerard Fox has to say. “The combination of playas/players playing along with hatas/haters hating may seem like common parlance today”, states the legal man. “However, in 2001 it was completely original and unique”.

Though, if you’re sitting there thinking, “yeah, Foxy makes a good point”, well, just wait until you hear what Swift’s rep has to say. “This is a ridiculous claim”, don’t you know. “It’s nothing more than a money grab”, you should note. “The law is simple and clear”, remember. “They do not have a case”. And that may be true.

Of course, the law is rarely simple and clear, though this isn’t the first plagiarism claim over ‘Shake It Off’, musician Jessie Braham having previously accused Swift and her co-writers of lifting lyrics from his song ‘Haters Gonna Hate’. A judge dismissed that case with the hilarious declaration that the “defendants have shaken off this lawsuit”.

It remains to be seen if the new litigation has any more substance to it than Braham’s, or whether – once again – Swift and co will be able to – wait for it – here we go – it’s coming – whether Swift and co will be able to… SHAKE IT OFF! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!