Haters gonna sue sue sue Taylor Swift!
TMZ reports that songwriters Sean Hall and Nathan Butler, who wrote 3LW’s song “Playas Gon’ Play,” are now suing Swift for an undisclosed sum, claiming 20% of “Shake It Off” is their song based on lyrical similarities.
Here are 3LW’s lyrics:
Playas, they gonna play
And haters, they gonna hate
And here are Swift’s lyrics:
Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play
And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate
Considering the phrases “players gonna play” and “haters gonna hate” are so common (if I recall correctly, you could easily find each of these on a Target t-shirt circa 2003), a similar lawsuit has, unsurprisingly, happened before. Back in 2015 Jesse Graham tried to sue Taylor Swift for allegedly copying his song “Haters Gonna Hate” from 2013, claiming he had a copyright of the phrase.
But in a 2015 essay written by patent consultant Kevin Rieffel, he points out that “haters gonna hate” and “players gonna play,” and variations on the two, have been used countless times in songs by Kelly Rowland, 504 Boyz, and Notorious B.I.G.—so it’s difficult to prove legal ownership of these phrases.
Jezebel has reached out to members of 3LW and will update this post when they respond.