Monday, 25 August 2014

Colombian vs Dominican: US decides on Shakira's hit song

Over the weekend all newspapers and major entertainment sides around the world contained reports on Shakira’s hit song ‘loca’ been found guilty of plagiarism i.e. copyright infringement.

loca loca no te pongas bruto loca que te la bebe dance or die loca el ...The court hearing the case was the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York (Case No. 12-cv-1094) and was brought by Mayimba Music, Inc who holds the rights of the work of Dominican songwriter Ramon Arias Vasquez. The work in question was a song track written by Arias in 1998 entitled ‘loca con su tiguere’.

A claim was brought against Sony Corp of America, Sony Music Entertainment, Sony/ATV Latin Music Publishing LLC, Sony/ATV Discos Music Publishing LLC, and Sony/ATV Tunes LLC who holds the right for Shakira’s hit song ‘loca’-- Spanish and English version. However, the judge dismissed infringement claims upon the English version, citing a lack of evidence and thus, only finding liable Sony/ATV Latin and Sony/ATV Discos, for distributing Shakira’s song Spanish version.

The judge held that Shakira’s single “was based on a 2007 song by Dominican rapper Eduard Edwin Bello Pou, better known as El Cata, which also copied Arias and was distributed by Sony.” “The song revolves around a love triangle in which the singers are poor and the opposing suitors are rich, a theme expressed in Arias’s title.” Shakira’s version uses the word “tigre” (tiger) instead of “tiguere,” which is Dominican slang for tiger.  The issue in question is that Shakira's song incorporates portions of El Cata performing ‘Loca Con Su Tiguere’, and therefore containing substantial copying of the original version. Finally, the judge stated that there was no dispute that Shakira's version was based on El Cata's version and thus accordingly since El Cata “had copied Arias, whoever wrote Shakira's version of the song also indirectly copied Arias."

This is not the first time the Colombian singer Shakira is accused of plagiarism. However, this is the only case that have been heard in a court of law. On 2010 this blog reported of other instances such as the ‘waka,waka’ chorus used in the 2010 world cup; a chorus used in ‘hips don’t lie’ -- settled outside court; and more recently the ‘la,la,la’ video.

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