Lawsuit: Taylor Swift's 'Shake It Off' a Rip-Off - NBC New York

Lawsuit: Taylor Swift's 'Shake It Off' a Rip-Off

The songwriters behind the lawsuit contend Swift's hit tune contains about 20 percent of their copyrighted material

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    Lawsuit: Taylor Swift's 'Shake It Off' a Rip-Off
    John Salangsang/Invision/AP
    Taylor Swift performs at DIRECTV NOW Super Saturday Night Concert at Club Nomadic on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by John Salangsang/Invision/AP)

    "Haters gonna hate," as the song goes. But whose song is it?

    Taylor Swift is being sued in federal court in Los Angeles, with the songwriters behind the 2001 3LW recording called "Playas Gon' Play" arguing that she lifted lyrics from the tune for her 2014 smash hit "Shake it Off."

    According to the copyright infringement lawsuit, songwriters Sean Hall and Nathan Butler contend their 2001 song includes the lyrics "Playas, they gonna play, and haters, they gonna hate."

    Compare that with Swift's "Shake it Off" lyrics: "Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play and the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate." Hall and Butler contend their copyrighted material accounts for about 20 percent of "Shake it Off," and they want compensation. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages, but it notes that Swift's tune has sold more than 9 million copies and the video for the song has nearly 2.4 billion views on YouTube.

    "The combination of playas/players playing along with hatas/haters hating may seem like common parlance today, however, in 2001 it was completely original and unique," according to the lawsuit. "Indeed, the combination had not been used in popular culture prior to plaintiffs' original use."

    Swift's representatives have written off the lawsuit, issuing a statement saying, "This is a ridiculous claim and nothing more than a money grab. The law is simple and clear. They do not have a case."

    According to the lawsuit, Hall has written and produced songs for artists including Justin Bieber, Color Me Badd, 98 Degrees, Lionel Richie, Pink and Maroon 5. Butler, meanwhile, has worked with artists such as Luther Vandross, Victoria Beckham, Christina Milian, Backstreet Boys and Aaron Carter, according to the lawsuit.