Judge Says Shakira's Hit Song 'Loca' Includes 'Substantial Copying' Of Other Artist's Lyrics

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SHAKIRA PERFORMS
Shakira performs at the iHeartRadio Music Awards at the Shrine Auditorium on Thursday, May 1, 2014, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP) | Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

Shakira's hips don't lie, but a federal judge is pretty sure one of her songs contains lyrics illegally ripped off from another musician.

U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein ruled against Sony Corp. of America Tuesday, finding two of the company's subsidiaries guilty of copyright infringement for Shakira's 2010 hit, "Loca."

The suit traces the song back to Ramon "Arias" Vasquez, a Dominican songwriter who says his 1998 work "Loca con su Tiguere" was stolen by Eduard Edwin Bello Pou, a Dominican rapper who goes by the name "El Cata," for the rapper's 2007 song, also titled "Loca Con Su Tiguere."

El Cata, referred to as "Bello" in the court documents, argued his version of the song was unrelated to Arias', claiming he'd been inspired by his relationship with his ex-wife, while Arias was inspired by a love triangle between his older sister and her two lovers.

Ultimately, the judge didn't buy Bello's explanation, since it conflicted with earlier testimony he'd given regarding the origin of the song's key lyrics. Arias provided a cassette tape from 1998 with his recording of the song.

The Spanish language version of Shakira's "Loca," which incorporates portions of Bello performing "Loca Con Su Tiguere," therefore contains "substantial copying," the judge notes.

"There is no dispute that Shakira's version of the song was based on Bello's version," Hellerstein writes. "Accordingly, I find that, since Bello had copied Arias, whoever wrote Shakira's version of the song also indirectly copied Arias."

According to The Hollywood Reporter, SonyATV Latin and Sony/ATV Discos, the companies responsible for distributing Shakira's song in the United States, are liable for damages, which will be determined in the next phase of the trial.

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