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Shakira defends her song against plagiarism in Spanish court

MADRID (AP) — Colombian singers Shakira and Carlos Vives appeared in a Madrid court Wednesday to answer allegations by a Cuban-born singer and producer that they plagiarized his work in their award-winning hit "La Bicicleta."

Shakira smiled as she entered the court in downtown Madrid. She didn't answer reporters' questions. Shakira and Vives refuted the allegations by Livan Rafael Castellanos that "La Bicicleta" — which means "The Bicycle" in English — contains lyrics, rhythm and melody similar to those of his 1997 song, "Yo te quiero tanto."

Shakira, whose full name is Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll, told the judge that Castellanos' song "is nothing like ... La Bicicleta, the melody is different, the music is different, the subject matter is different," according to private Spanish news agency Europa Press.

"My (song) talks about my homeland, it's a salute to my homeland — Barranquilla, Colombia — not Cuba," Shakira said, according to Europa Press. "It's different." "La Bicicleta" won two of the three biggest Grammy Latino awards for 2016, including song and record of the year.

Vives told reporters he welcomed the chance to clear his name. Castellanos claimed that music experts supported his claim of plagiarism. "Let's see whether we can finally get to the bottom of this and justice can be done," he told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.

Sony Music, which released "La Bicicleta," made no immediate comment on the case. The court is expected to deliver its verdict in 20 days.

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