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Wednesday, May 12, 1999 Published at 09:24 GMT 10:24 UK


Jackson loses plagarism case

Michael Jackson: Culd face a huge bill for costs

Pop superstar Michael Jackson copied an Italian songwriter when he wrote his hit single Will You Be There, a judge in Rome has ruled.

A four million lire (£1,362) fine was suspended by Judge Mario Frigenti, but Jackson was ordered to pay costs, which could be high as the case has taken four years to pass through court.

Veteran singer and songwriter Al Bano first claimed Jackson stole part of the musical motif to his song I Cigni Di Balka (The Swans Of Balaka) in 1993. The trial began two years later.

Jackson's lawyer Alberto Seganti said he was planning to appeal. "There is no proof of plagiarism," he said.

After the verdict, Al Bano invited Jackson to join him in performing a concert for the children of Kosovo.

Two years ago, Jackson told the court there was some similarity between the two songs, but said it was "completely coincidental". He said he has never met Bano, and had never heard of his song until the suit was brought. His lawyers argued simple similarity did not constitute plagiarism.

The court heard an expert say that 37 notes were the same in each song.

Last year, Al Bano lost a civil case for copyright infringement against Jackson, and was ordered to pay expenses.

In the past, Jackson has been cleared of plagiarism allegations in the United States involving his Dangerous and Thriller albums.

Will You Be There was taken from Dangerous, which was released in 1991. As a single, it reached number nine in the UK in 1993.

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