Nice try Mayimba, but now you must pay…
DMN have been following the fraudulent case since the beginning. In short, New York-based Mayimba Music LLC filed a suit against Sony Music regarding the ownership of Shakira’s hit song ‘Loca’, alleging that the song was a complete rip-off of a recording by Ramon Arias Vasquez called ‘Loca Con Su Tiguere’ which was created in the late 1990s.
The judge on the case found the evidence convincing. So much so in August 2014, after analysing a cassette recording which was claimed to be recorded in 1998, the U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein found Sony guilty of distributing copyright infringing content. Hellerstein concluded that Shakira’s single was directly copied from a Dominican rapper named Eduard Edwin Bello Pou in 2007, which lifted music from Ramon Arias Vasquez.
But, things got a little more interesting when a US District judge found loopholes in the case.
In September 2014, startling new evidence was presented to the Judge, which exposed that the cassette recording wasn’t actually made in 1998. In light of this new evidence, in December 2014 Sony filed a motion to vacate the court’s ruling. In August 2015 the judge found that the tape had been fabricated in 2010 or 2011, not 1998 which was claimed. The Judge concluded that Mayimba did not have a valid copyright, as the deposit copy was not a bona fide copy.
After the ruling, both parties made subsequent motions. Mayimba’s motion for a new trial was quickly denied. Sony filed a motion for sanctions and sought attorneys fees and costs from Mayimba. Sony’s motion to receive attorneys fees and costs from Mayimba was granted and Sony sought after seeking approximately $750,000 – $677,934.52 in attorneys fees and $64,946.83 in non-taxable costs.
The Judge found that Sony Music had wasted 1231.1 hours on attorneys fees over the four years of litigation, as a result of Mayimba’s false claims and has awarded Sony Music with $350,000 in attorney’s fees and $50,000 in non-taxable costs, which makes it a $400,000 win for Sony Music.