Lady Gaga didn't rip off Chicago musician, federal judge rules

Trials and ArbitrationJustice SystemMusicMusic IndustryLady GagaPitchfork Music Festival

Lady Gaga has won a courtroom battle with a Chicago musician who claimed the pop star ripped her off and stole material for her 2011 hit “Judas.”

A federal judge in Chicago on Tuesday threw out the case, finding that there were no substantial similarities between Rebecca Francescatti’s 1999 song “Juda” and the lesser hit from Gaga's “Born This Way” album.

“Simply listening to the songs, as the law requires, reveals their utter lack of similarity,” wrote U.S. District Judge Marvin Aspen.

Francescatti, who performs as Rebecca F, filed the lawsuit in federal court here in 2011. Both she and Lady Gaga worked with recording engineer Brian Gaynor, who helped pitch ideas to Lady Gaga and was also sued.

The litigation produced an overwhelming amount of evidence — including nearly 20 gigabytes of recorded material for the recording sessions for “Judas,” which Aspen noted was composed on a computer workstation, unlike “Juda,” which was primarily made using live musicians.

Lady Gaga was also deposed in the case, answering questions for about four hours while in Chicago for the 2012 Pitchfork Music Festival, Francescatti's attorneys have said.

But in the end, Aspen found that the two works were not similar, writing that their melodies were different and that, at most, a certain section shared a few notes.

“The differences so outweigh the purported similarities between the melodies that they cannot be said to be even remotely similar,” Aspen wrote. “We agree with Defendants that the songs do not have common lyrics, the themes are different, and they do not sound at all alike musically.”

“Thus, we find the similarity of expression to be, quite clearly, ‘totally lacking.’ The (two songs) are so utterly dissimilar that reasonable minds could not differ as to a lack of substantial similarity between them.”

Christopher Niro, an attorney for Francescatti, said in an email that the singer and her attorneys were disappointed by the judge’s ruling.

sschmadeke@tribune.com
Twitter @SteveSchmadeke


Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
Related Content
Trials and ArbitrationJustice SystemMusicMusic IndustryLady GagaPitchfork Music Festival
Comments
Loading