A U.S. judge who ruled that pop star Shakira’s 2010 hit single “Loca” plagiarised a Dominican songwriter’s work now says the songwriter may have lied to the court and is prepared to head to Puerto Rico to sort out facts. U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein said in the federal court in Manhattan that new evidence has caused him to “lose trust” in the trial testimony.
Judge Hellerstien had previously found that the Shakira track had copied from composer Ramon Arias Vasquez’s song “Loca con su Tiguere” and found Sony/ATV Latin and Sony/ATV Discos liable for distributing the infringing song. In his ruling, Judge Hellerstein found that Arias’s song was recorded onto a cassette tape in 1998. A copy of the song on the tape was registered at the Copyright Office in 2011. However the Judge has now planned for a seven-day hearing in August on the basis of the allegation that a cassette tape was fabricated in 2011 and that Arias lied under oath. Defendants Sony have also submitted affidavits that purport to show that the underlying music to Arias’s song was composed in 2009, by a different artist.
As a number of Sony’s new witnesses may have trouble obtaining visas to travel to the United States from the Dominican Republic, Judge Hellerstein has offered to hold the hearing in Puerto Rico (a U.S. territory) and asked attorneys to find out whether that would solve any visa issues.
If credible the Judge added that the evidence would show that the plaintiff “attempted to commit a fraud upon this court, going so far as to fabricate evidence and to commit perjury.”