What happens when you are an artist who has one of the most acclaimed songs of the year? Well, besides amassing millions of dollars and gaining millions of views on YouTube, your haters are multiplied by a thousand. Taylor Swift knows this all too well, and she has just been sued by one of them. According to a report from Billboard, an unpopular R&B singer, Jesse Braham, has reportedly filed a lawsuit claiming Swift stole the lyrics for her hugely-popular hit, “Shake It Off,” from a song he wrote in 2013 called “Haters Gone Hate.” In addition to the $42 million he’s demanding, Braham wants his name added as a writer on Swift’s song.
Since her arrival on the music scene, Taylor Swift has not only monopolized almost all youth awards, but she has gained a legion of fans who have catapulted her songs to No. 1 in sales. But the originality of her 2014 song “Shake It Off” is now in doubt. According to the allegations of Braham, Swift stole the chorus of the anthem (“Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play / And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate”) from his song, “Haters Gone Hate.”
The chorus to Braham’s work features the following lyrics. “Haters gone hate, playas gone play. Watch out for them fakers, they’ll fake you everyday.”
Speaking with New York Daily News, Braham issued the below statement regarding his “Shake It Off” lawsuit.
“Her hook is the same hook as mine,” he told the site. “If I didn’t write the song ‘Haters Gone Hate,’ there wouldn’t be a song called ‘Shake It Off.’ ” He also said that “there is no way Swift came up with those lyrics independently of his song.”
Upon listening to Braham’s song, many might conclude that the two songs sound nothing alike. Echoing this sentiment, a legal source recently spoke on the seemingly frivolous lawsuit to Perez Hilton.
“Mr. Braham, who is representing himself, cannot claim copyright protection for the phrases ‘haters gone hate’ and ‘playas gone play’ because the Copyright Act does not protect short phrases and these phrases are not original to him,” the source explained. “In addition, and most damning to Mr. Braham’s claim, the two songs have absolutely nothing in common.”
The New York Daily News said in their report that the 50-year-old musician, whose stage name is Jesse Graham, first recognized the similarity between the two songs a few months go when he saw Taylor Swift perform “Shake It Off” on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and has since spoken to reps from Sony and Swift’s record label, Big Machine, four or five times.
The report states that Jesse Braham’s pleas for compensation began modestly enough. He asked to be named as a writer on “Shake It Off,” and also requested that Swift take a selfie with him. However, to his dismay, the 25-year-old star’s team repeatedly dismissed his requests due to the fact that they felt his claim to ownership had no merit. After he was brushed off and denied several times, he chose to file the lawsuit.
This isn’t the first time Taylor Swift has been sued by a person claiming the “Bad Blood” singer ripped off something from them. As reported by Page Six earlier this year, California-based clothing brand Lucky 13 filed a lawsuit against Swift after they realized Swift was selling shirts and greeting cards with “Lucky 13” on them, which is in reference to her birth date and favorite number.
Swift was engaged in a nasty battle with Robert Kloetzly, the company’s owner, and Kloetzly reportedly demanded that she turn over any promotional photos or videos that show “partially visible” parts of her breasts or buttocks.
[Image via Tim Boyles / Getty Images Entertainment]