The authors of the 2001 song “Playas Gon’ Play” by 3LW, Sean Hall, and Nathan Butler are suing singer-songwriter Taylor Swift for plagiarism. Swift has personally replied to the case.
Swift claimed in court documents that she had never heard the song that was the subject of the alleged plagiarism. Additionally, she emphasized that she was the author of the song’s lyrics. Swift asserted that she wrote “Shake It Off’s complete lyrics” in her statement. I had never heard of the song “Play’s Gon’ Play” or the band 3LW before learning of the plaintiff’s claim in 2017.
When Sean Hall and Nathan Butler wrote “Playas Gon’ Play” around the turn of the century, the pop star claims she was hearing that language on the playground, not on the radio, and that any similar phrasing is the result of the terminology being a part of everyday language and was part of the popular vernacular before.
While attending school in Wyomissing Hills and high school in Hendersonville, Taylor recalled hearing other children use the expressions “players play” and “haters hate” together. These sayings were similar to other idioms like “say it, don’t spray,” “don’t hate the playa, hate the game,” and “take a calm pill.”
While Taylor’s song is titled “‘Cause the players going to play, play, play, play and the haters going to hate, hate, hate, hate,” the words of the 3LW song are “playas, they going to play” and “haters, they going to hate.” At a 2013 concert, Swift wore a T-shirt with the phrase “haters going to hate”; it wasn’t custom-made; she bought it at Urban Outfitters. She said that the phrase was so widely used at the time.
A judge initially dismissed the plagiarism lawsuit in 2018. The lawsuit was reinstated by an appeals court the following year. According to the newspaper, a jury will resolve the case at an unspecified later date, but Swift’s lawyer Peter Anderson is contending that new information demonstrates the plaintiffs’ accusations are sufficiently unfounded to not merit a trial.