Record label Sony is now held liable for damages for the 2010 song
It was a smash summer hit that ruled the charts for many weeks, but it has now been established that Shakira's version of “Loca” might have been inspired by another musical creation from a man who never got any credit for it.
Billboard reports that a Manhattan federal court judge has ruled that Shakira's famous song “Loca” released in 2010 was ripped-off from another song, a Spanish track released in 1998 and called “Loca con su Tiguere” by a Dominican songwriter by the name of Ramon Arias Vasquez.
Shakira's version of the song sold over 5 million copies all over the world at the time it was launched, so there is a lot of money at stake here, especially since the song keeps getting royalties. Vasquez testified before a judge that “Loca con su Tiguere” was inspired by the relationship between his sister and her street tough boyfriend.
The word “tiguere” is often used in the Dominican Republic to refer to such street toughs and Vasquez claims that he met with Dominican rapper Eduard Edwin Bello Pou also known as El Cata, and it was him who copied his work.
Obviously, Pou denied this version and claimed in court that the song was inspired instead by his relationship with his wife.
Shakira's version was released both in English and Spanish, but the lawsuit mainly focuses on the Spanish version of the song, which means that only SonyATV Latin and Sony/ATV Discos are being called into the lawsuit, leaving out parent company Sony.
It has to be said that while copyright claims lawsuits are common, it's rare that a judge rules in favor a plagiarism claim, simply because it often very difficult to prove that one song copies another. But in this case, the judge thought that the issue was pretty clear.
“These hooks play a similar function in both songs. Similar rhythm in both hooks drive the songs. The repetitions are slightly different, but the differences do not affect the song,” writes the judge in the official ruling.
The conclusion of the judge was that “There is no dispute that Shakira's version of the song was based on Bello's version. Accordingly, I find that, since Bello had copied Arias, whoever wrote Shakira's version of the song also indirectly copied Arias.”
The trial will now seek to determine what damages should be paid to the accusing party. At the moment, there is no word from Shakira or her camp on the court's decision.