It was an international hit in 2010, but a federal judge has found that pop singer Shakira’s Spanish-language single “Loca” was copied from another songwriter’s work.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein in Manhattan ruled Tuesday that the Colombian singer’s song infringed on the work of Dominican songwriter Ramon Arias Vasquez, who wrote “Loca con su Tiguera” in the late 1990s.
While the song was released in both Spanish and English, the copyright lawsuit focused mainly on the Spanish version. As a result, Hellerstein dismissed the claims against the English-language track, citing lack of evidence.
Mayimba Music, which holds the rights to Vasquez’s song, sued Sony Corp and several other Sony subsidiaries in 2012. The judge found only two of them liable, Sony/ATV Latin and Sony/ATV Discos, for distributing Shakira’s song in Spanish.
Hellerstein said Shakira's single was based on a 2007 song by Dominican rapper Edwin Bello Pou, better known as El Cata, which also copied Arias and was distributed by Sony
According to THR, Vazquez testified he had written the song in the 1990s after being inspired by his sister’s relationship with a street tough guy. He told the court that about eight years ago he met Pou and showed him two of his songs, including “Loca con su Tiguera.”
Pou denied this happened and said the song was his, inspired by his relationship with his ex-wife. He recorded the song and it made him famous
Hellerstein found that Vazquez’s version and Pou’s song have a similar structure and both are driven by hooks framing one long verse.
“These hooks play a similar function in both songs,” he wrote in his findings. “Similar rhythm in both hooks drive the songs. The repetitions are slightly different, but the differences do not affect the song.”
Although Shakira’s version uses the word “tigre” (tiger) instead of “tiguere,” which is Dominican slang to be tough street guy, Hellerstein said the meaning was the same.
The judge said because Shakira’s version is based on Pou’s song, who copied Arias' work, “whoever wrote Skakira’s version of the song also indirectly copied Arias.”
Damages and a permanent injunction requested by the Mayimba against Sony will be determined at a later date.