US judge: Shakira hit song Loca 'broke copyright laws'

Colombian singer Shakira performs in Rio de Janeiro on July 13, 2014. Shakira recently performed at the football World Cup in Brazil

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A hit song performed by Colombian pop star Shakira was indirectly copied from another songwriter's work, a federal judge in New York has found.

Judge Alvin Hellerstein said Shakira's Spanish-language version of Loca in 2010 had infringed on a song by Dominican singer Ramon Arias Vazquez.

Her English language version of Loca - which featured Dizzee Rascal - was "not offered into evidence" at the trial.

Neither version of Loca was released as a single in the UK.

However, the Spanish language version - a collaboration with Dominican rapper Eduard Edwin Bello Pou, better known as El Cata - was widely released as a single around the world. It went on to sell more than five million copies and topped Billboard Magazine's Latin charts.

It was also included on her 2010 album Sale el Sol. For English language markets, the album was titled The Sun Comes Out and both versions of the song were included.

In a ruling on Tuesday, Judge Hellerstein said that while the hit single had been based on an earlier version of a song recorded by Bello [El Cata], that itself had been copied from Arias Vasquez's original song.

"There is no dispute that Shakira's version of the song was based on Bello's version," wrote the judge in his ruling.

"Accordingly, I find that, since Bello had copied Arias, whoever wrote Shakira's version of the song also indirectly copied Arias," he concluded.

Ramon Arias Vazquez penned his song Loca con su Tiguere in the 1990s, but Bello has denied copying it.

The case has yet to determine damages for the plaintiff, Mayimba Music, which holds the rights to Arias' work.

Shakira's song was distributed by Sony in both Spanish and English, but the copyright lawsuit mainly focused on the Spanish version.

On 13 July, the Colombian singer performed at the World Cup closing ceremony in Rio de Janeiro.

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