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Plagiarism lawsuit Shakira and Sony/ATV lost now thrown out by judge

By | Published on Tuesday 11 August 2015


In something of an about turn, a New York judge has thrown out a copyright infringement lawsuit against Shakira and her publisher Sony/ATV in relation to the 2010 track ‘Loca’.

As previously reported, the Shakira song borrowed from an earlier work called ‘Loca Con Su Tiguera’ by Eduardo Edwin Bello Pou – aka El Cata – who harks from the Dominican Republic. But that was all above board, with Bello being co-credited on the song and also appearing on the track.

But then another Dominican Republic songwriter called Ramon ‘Arias’ Vasquez showed up on the scene claiming that Bello’s song was a rip off of something he had written in the mid-1990s, and which, he said, he had shared with Bello when the two men met about nine years ago. Both men presented their respective arguments to the New York court a year ago, with the judge ultimately siding with Vasquez, partly because of inconsistencies in Bello’s story, and especially because Vasquez had a 1998 cassette recording of his song.

Because the Shakira record had borrowed from Bello’s song, which in turn ripped off Vasquez’s song, she and her publisher were also liable for copyright infringement. But then yesterday, when he was expected to rule on the damages due in relation to last year’s judgement, the judge overseeing the dispute changed his mind over the whole case, mainly because of that aforementioned cassette tape.

According to Reuters, judge Alvin K Hellerstein said that new evidence had been presented by Sony that provided “competent and substantial proof” that Vasquez’s cassette was a fake, and did not, in fact, originate from 1998 but more recently. There had been a “basic issue of fraud in the trial”, he added, before dismissing the case against Shakira and Sony/ATV.

“We’re very pleased and gratified on behalf of Sony and the real writers, El Cata and Shakira”, said legal reps for the publishing major.