Italian songwriters go after Prince for plagarism

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prince-edit.jpgFifteen years after Prince released his hit “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World”, an Italian Court of Appeals has ruled it was plagiarized from a song penned by two Italians.

The long legal process could even go on for more years, as the case is now set for what is termed a “third degree” in Italy, which will see it get a final ruling. This step normally takes a few years to be completed.

For now, Prince has been ordered by the Court of Appeals to refrain from distributing the song in Italy and he also faces an order to pay all royalties collected so far to the Italian songwriters and their publishers. That order for royalty payments will only go into effect once the final ruling confirms the Appeals court’s findings.

According to the Court of Appeals, songwriters, Bruno Bergonzi and Michele Vicino wrote the song, “Take Me to Paradise;” and Prince’s “Most beautiful Girl In The World” resembles the Italian’s tune in a big way. The court ruled that Prince’s song “borrowed heavily” from the Italian release.

Bergonzi told Billboard.com that the song penned by him and his co-writer, hit the streets in 1983 and was featured on compilations that got global distribution. According to the report, he said, “"When we first heard Prince's song we immediately took action, but this case has been dragging on for 15 years and it isn't over yet, such is the slowness of the Italian legal system. We only decided to go public with our story now."

In 2003, the Italian’s claim was thrown out of court by a sentence that rejected it. This recent ruling is against that original sentence.

In fact it is not such a recent ruling, as it was handed down in December 2007 and registered in February 2008. Bergonzi and Vicino have only decided to go public with it now, while they wait for further court proceedings.

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