May 28, 2003 01:00 PM

Britney Spears is in the clear after a federal judge dismissed a copyright infringement lawsuit by two Philadelphia songwriters who claimed the pop princess copied the melody of one of their songs, the Associated Press reports.

Spears’s song in question, “What U See (Is What U Get),” was based on Michael Cottrill and Lawrence Wnukowski’s “What You See Is What You Get,” the pair claimed in their suit, filed last June.

But U.S. District Judge Berle M. Schiller said the men lacked sufficient evidence to prove that she even had access to their song.

“As plaintiffs have not come forward with any affirmative evidence showing access, there is no reasonable possibility that the creators copied plaintiffs’ song before November 1999 when the melody of defendants’ song was completed,” Schiller wrote in his decision.

Cottrill and Wnukowski had claimed that, when asked in late 1999, they submitted a copyrighted version of their tune to one of Spears’s representatives.

But Schiller, citing defense testimony, noted that the melody of Spears’ song was completed by the beginning of November 1999, before Spears and her representatives “would have had access to a copyrighted version of plaintiffs’ song.”

He also said there weren’t enough similarities between the two songs to prove copyright infringement.

In other Britney news, Spears, 21, announced last week that she is auctioning off more than 160 personal items, with proceeds benefiting her charity, the Britney Spears Foundation, which operates a weeklong performance arts camp for disadvantaged children.

Among the items going on the block will be her ears from her days on “The Mickey Mouse Club.”

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