A judge has concluded the footage was never owned by Leto, and the videographer, identified as Naeem Munaf, transferred the rights to the gossip site.

The Oscar winner maintained the video, in which he critiqued Swift's 1989 album and concluded "I don't give a f**k about her", was stolen.

TMZ editors published the video in December (15), prompting Leto to quickly apologise to Swift. He then filed a lawsuit against TMZ to "encourage more people to stop trafficking in stolen goods."

Leto claimed he had hired the videographer who handed the footage to TMZ bosses, but they argued the actor never owned the footage.

On Friday, U.S. District Court judge Ronald Lew agreed with the website's lawyers ruling the video wasn't created for Leto's company because the videographer wasn't an employee, and there was no written agreement suggesting Leto owned the footage.