As described in detail here, in 2017 two music artists sued Taylor Swift and others, claiming that her 2014 hit song Shake It Off infringed the copyright in their creation Playas Gon’ Play, which was recorded by the girl group 3LW and released to the public in May 2001. Swift’s lawyers have twice unsuccessfully attempted to have the court dismiss the lawsuit before the scheduled October trial.

Swift’s lawyers are at it again, recently asking the court once more to dismiss the case on a few different grounds. One is that the plaintiffs are unable to prove that Swift copied the lyrics from Playas Gon’ Play. Under copyright law, a claim of infringement requires that plaintiff prove the defendant actually copied the plaintiff’s protectable expression—as opposed to having come up with it independently. Copying is proven circumstantially by evidence of either: (1) “striking similarity” between the two works; or (2) the defendant’s access to the plaintiff’s work, plus substantial similarities between the defendant’s and the plaintiff’s works that are probative of copying.

On the question of access, Taylor Swift submits a sworn statement detailing how she allegedly came up with the subject lyrics independently, having never heard the plaintiffs’ tune until the lawsuit was filed in 2017. The statement contains details about her songwriting process and inspiration that curious fans would enjoy learning:

I co-wrote Shake It Off with Karl Martin Sandberg, professionally known as Max Martin, and Karl Johan Schuster, professionally known as Shellback, at Conway Recording Studios in Los Angeles, in February 2014. We began writing the song after I discussed with Max Martin and Shellback that I wanted to write a song that would help me cope with stresses in my life, and would also double as a song that would make people get up and dance. With that in mind, Shellback created a drum beat and Max Martin, Shellback, and I began collaboratively improvising musical lines to the drum beat. I started improvising lyrics to the music, including lyrics on the idea of “shaking,” both in the sense of shaking something off and shaking in terms of dancing.

Shake It Off is 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. With Shake It Off, I wanted to provide a comedic, empowering approach to helping people feel better about negative criticism through music, dance, and the personal independence enabling one to just shake off the negative criticism.

The lyrics to Shake It Off also draw from commonly used phrases and comments heard throughout my life. Prior to writing Shake It Off I had heard the phrases “players gonna play” and “haters gonna hate” uttered countless times to express the idea that one can or should shrug off negativity. I recall hearing phrases about players play and haters hate stated together by other children while attending school in Wyomissing Hills, and in high school in Hendersonville. These phrases were akin to other commonly used sayings like “don’t hate the playa, hate the game,” “take a chill pill,” and “say it, don’t spray it.” I drew on those commonly used player and hater phrases in creating the lyrics “Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play / And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate.”

The request for dismissal is set to be heard by the court in late September.