Shakira & Carlos Vives Face Plagiarism Complaint Over ‘La Bicicleta’

A Spanish court will decide whether songwriting elements were lifted.

By Hayden Wright

Shakira and Carlos Vives’ “La Bicicleta” took the Latin pop world by storm, topping the charts and spawning an adorable viral campaign last year: It even won Latin GRAMMY Awards for Record of the Year and Song of the Year. In a Spanish court, singer Livam (Livan Rafael Castellanos) filed a complaint against the artists, alleging they borrowed lyrics and melody from his 1997 song “Yo Te Quiero Tanto.”

Related: Shakira, Carlos Vives Share User-Generated Videos for ‘La Bicicleta’

Livam’s chorus uses the phrase “yo te quiero tanto,” while “La Bicicleta” employs the line “que te sueño y que te quiero tanto.” According to El Mundo, a music witness for Livam has testified that the rhythm and melody are the same. Livam reportedly sent the song to various publishing houses before hearing it on the radio, without his permission.

Until the complaint is resolved, a Spanish composers’ rights organization called SGAE will retain royalties for the song. No settlement was agreed upon when the two sides met to discuss the matter last year.

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