By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated April 29, 1998 12:00 AM
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Michael Jackson has reason to sing. On Wednesday, an appeals court in Rome, overturning a lower court’s previous decision, cleared the Gloved One of plagiarism allegations in a case involving an Italian songwriter, say news reports. Al Bano, a veteran songwriter and singer, claimed that Jackson lifted part of the musical motif of Bano’s 1987 song “I Cigni di Balaka” (The Swans of Balaka) for use in the Jackson composition “Will You Be There” — which was part of Jackson’s 1991 album “Dangerous.” In May 1999, a lower court in Rome found Jackson guilty of plagiarism. The court ordered, then suspended, a $1,900 fine, but ordered Jackson to pay court costs. Jackson’s lawyers appealed, and Wednesday’s ruling closes the books on the case.