A federal judge in New York tossed out a copyright infringement lawsuit over Colombian singer Shakira’s 2010 hit single “Loca.”
U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein dismissed the case against Sony/ATV Latin and Sony/ATV Discos after finding that a key piece of evidence – a cassette tape on which Dominican songwriter Ramon Arias Vasquez had allegedly recorded the original song – was a fake.
“(T)here was a basic issue of fraud in the trial,” Hellerstein said on Monday, adding that Vasquez had lied to the court, according to Reuters.
Hellerstein’s rulling is a change from his previous ruling nearly a year ago, when he found Sony liable for copyright infringement for the Spanish-language chart topper. He ruled in August 2014 that the song was ripped off from a recording by Vasquez called “Loca con su Tigurere.”
However, Hellestein said new evidence brought by Sony offering “competent and substantial proof” that the cassette tape Vasquez had allegedly used to record the song has not been made in 1998 as claimed. He said that, with the new evidence, he lost faith in Vasquez’s testimony.
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According to Reuters, Hellerstein noted the photo on the cassette’s cover depicts an adult man name Jhoan Gonzalez, who was born in 1989 and would have been only 9 years old if the tape was made in 1998.
Vasquez had registered a U.S. copyright with the song, but with the new evidence the copyright is invalid, Hellerstein said.
The original lawsuit against Sony was brought forth in 2013 by publisher Mayimba Music, which also manages Romeo Santos’ songs.
During the original 2014 trial, Vasquez, who even sang his song before Hellerstein, testified that about eight years ago he met Dominican rapper El Cata and introduced him to two of his songs, included “Loca con su Tiguere.”
A representative for Mayimba declined to comment on Monday’s ruling, Reuters reported.
Sony’s attorney Barry Slotnick said they were “very pleased and gratified on behalf of Sony and the real writers, El Cata and Shakira.”
Shakira’s “Loca” reached the top of the Latin Billboard charts, reportedly selling more than 5 million copies worldwide.