2020 Grammys

Lady Gaga 'Judas' Plagiarism Lawsuit Dismissed

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Lady Gaga performs onstage during her 2014 "The ARTPOP Ball" tour.

A judge has dismissed a plagiarism lawsuit against Lady Gaga that claimed the pop star's hit single "Judas" ripped off elements of Chicago musician Rebecca Francescatti's 1999 track "Juda."

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In his conclusion U.S. District Judge Marvin E. Aspen stated, "We conclude as a matter of law that the two songs are not substantially similar. No reasonable trier of fact could find that Defendants copied protected expression in Francescatti’s song. The songs do not 'share enough unique features to give rise to a breach of the duty not to copy another’s work.' .... Accordingly, we grant Defendant’s motion for summary judgment."

Francescatti initially filed the claim in 2011. 

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Aspen's ruling explains Francescatti failed to establish similarity between her song and Gaga's, including between "qualitatively important elements" nor "a unique combination of elements." The songs' similar titles and four similar 16th notes, he wrote, "are not sufficient to give rise to a finding that the Gaga Song has captured the total concept and feel of the Francescatti Song."

Furthermore, Aspen said that the elements of plagiarism Francescatti presented were not protectable on their own, nor had she presented any unique and protectable combination of those elements. 

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"We find that Francescatti has neither established that the elements are protectable nor has she established a unique combination of these unprotectable elements," He wrote, "No reasonable trier of fact could find that the songs’ expressions are substantially similar."


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