‘The Voice’ Cast Member Hits Back at Lawsuit

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NBC "The Voice"

Former “The Voice” mega mentor and music superstar Taylor Swift claims she never listened to the band 3LW before she wrote the song “Shake It Off” in response to a lawsuit filed by the band.

Swift told a federal court that she wrote “Shake It Off,” which came out in 2014, completely by herself, according to court documents obtained by NPR.

The singer is being sued by Sean Hall and Nathan Butler, writers of “Playas Gon’ Play,” which was a song released in 2000. They allege that she stole the lyrics of their song for “Shake It Off.”

According to USA Today, the songwriters filed a lawsuit about copyright infringement in 2017, but that suit was originally dismissed in 2018. The judge at the time wrote that the lyrics were “too banal” to be stolen. An appeal reignited the case, however, and Swift’s December 2021 request for dismissal was denied with a judge stating the cases have “enough objective similarities.”

The Lawsuit Alleges Swift Stole Lyrics

The lawsuit filed against Swift alleges she stole lyrics from the 2001 song. They point to the lyrics “playas, they gonna play, and haters, they gonna hate.” In “Shake It Off,” Swift sings, “the players gonna play, play, play” and “the haters gonna hate, hate, hate.”

Swift’s response to the suit says that the phrases “players gonna play” and “haters gonna hate” are both in popular culture and were at the time of her writing the song and she wrote it 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 the response, per NPR.

Swift points to Eric Church’s song “The Outsiders,” which does include the lyrics “the player’s gonna play and a hater’s gonna hate.” The song was performed at the Country Music Awards in 2013, one year before “Shake It Off” was released.

In 2013 as well, Swift wore a t-shirt that featured a unicorn with a thought bubble stating “haters gonna hate.” The star says she purchased the shirt at Urban Outfitters.

Swift Says She ‘Never’ Knew the Song

Swift states in the response to the suit that she had never seen the music video or saw 3LW live.

“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,” she writes. “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.”

She said that she also “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.”

The next hearing in the case will take place on September 19, 2022.

“The Voice” is set to return to NBC on September 19, 2022. The season will feature coaches Blake Shelton, Gwen Stefani, Camila Cabello, and John Legend.

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