Bad Bunny and Other Music Stars Face Copyright Lawsuit
New York (CNN) – Lawsuit Filed Against Bad Bunny and Other Music Industry Stars
Bad Bunny and other prominent figures in the music industry are currently facing a lawsuit alleging copyright infringement on a song from 1989.
Lawyers from Freundlich Law, representing Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio, known as Bad Bunny, have filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit. They argue that the disputed musical elements are not protected by copyright.
The Lawsuit: Allegations and Counterarguments
The lawsuit was brought by lawyers representing Jamaican reggae producers Steely & Clevie. They claim that over 100 artists and record labels have infringed the copyright on a beat in their song “Fish Market.”
Bad Bunny’s legal team argues that the plaintiffs are attempting to monopolize the reggaeton genre by claiming ownership of the copyrights to musical compositions sampled by numerous artists in over 1,600 songs. The lawsuit accuses Bad Bunny of infringing the copyrights of 77 songs.
The drum rhythms at the center of the dispute originate from the Jamaican dancehall duo Steely & Clevie, who co-wrote “Fish Market” in 1989. The heavily sampled “dembow” rhythm is derived from a song of the same name co-written with Shabba Ranks, which in turn draws from “Fish Market.” One of the duo members, Wycliffe Johnson, passed away in 2009.
The lawsuit was initially filed in 2021.
Motions to Dismiss and Technical Failures
Bad Bunny’s lawyers argue that the characteristics cited by the plaintiffs, such as rhythm, instrument choice, and synth sound parts and timbre, are fundamental elements of the entire genre. They contend that the elements potentially protected by copyright, such as melody and lyrics, are not included in the plaintiffs’ case.
Another motion to dismiss the case was filed by the Pryor Cashman law firm, representing nearly 90 defendants, including Pitbull, Justin Bieber, Karol G, Enrique Iglesias, Ricky Martin, Jason Derulo, J Blavin, Ozuna, Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee, Becky G, Rosalia, and Diplo. This motion alleges technical failures in the copyright claim.
Previous Copyright Lawsuits and Legal Battles
This lawsuit is not an isolated incident. Artists ranging from Taylor Swift to Led Zeppelin have been involved in legal battles over their music.
In a similar case, a Manhattan jury ruled in May that Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking out Loud” did not infringe the copyright of Marvin Gaye’s song “Let’s Get It On.” Pryor Cashman also represented Sheeran in that case.
CNN has reached out to the plaintiffs for comment.
— Lauren del Valle, Nicki Brown, and Sabrina Souza, all with CNN, contributed to this report.
Endary producer, Tainy, is also named in the lawsuit, along with other industry stars such as J Balvin, Daddy Yankee, and Nicky Jam.
According to the lawsuit, the beat in question was used without permission in several popular songs, including Bad Bunny’s hit “Safaera.” Steely & Clevie are seeking damages for copyright infringement.
However, Bad Bunny’s lawyers argue that the beat in question is a common and unoriginal musical element that is not protected by copyright. They claim that the lawsuit is an attempt to stifle creativity in the music industry.
Implications for the Music Industry
This lawsuit raises important questions about copyright and the use of musical elements in the music industry.
If the court rules in favor of Steely & Clevie, it could set a precedent for other similar cases and potentially change the way artists and producers use musical elements in their work.
On the other hand, if the court rules in favor of Bad Bunny and the other defendants, it could reaffirm the current understanding of copyright law and allow artists to continue using common musical elements without fear of legal repercussions.
Regardless of the outcome, this lawsuit highlights the challenges and complexities surrounding copyright infringement in the music industry, and serves as a reminder for artists and producers to be cautious when incorporating elements from others’ work into their own.
What could be the potential impact on the music industry if Steely & Clevie win their copyright infringement lawsuit against Tainy, J Balvin, Daddy Yankee, Nicky Jam, and Bad Bunny?
If Steely & Clevie were to win their copyright infringement lawsuit against Tainy, J Balvin, Daddy Yankee, Nicky Jam, and Bad Bunny, it could have several potential impacts on the music industry. Here are a few possibilities:
1. Financial consequences: If the lawsuit is successful, Steely & Clevie would likely be entitled to damages and royalties from the accused artists. This could result in significant financial losses for Tainy, J Balvin, Daddy Yankee, Nicky Jam, and Bad Bunny, as they would have to pay a portion of their earnings to the plaintiffs.
2. Deterrence effect: A successful lawsuit would send a strong message to the music industry about the importance of respecting copyright laws. It may deter other artists from using unauthorized samples or infringing on copyrighted material in fear of facing similar consequences. This could contribute to a more cautious approach in the creation and production of music.
3. Precedent-setting: A victory for Steely & Clevie could set a legal precedent for future copyright infringement cases in the music industry. This could potentially impact how artists and producers approach sampling copyrighted material, leading to stricter regulations and licensing requirements.
4. Creative limitations: If the lawsuit imposes stricter regulations on sampling, it may limit the creative freedom of artists and producers. Sampling has been a significant element in the development of various music genres, and tighter restrictions could hinder innovation and the evolution of music.
5. Collaborative dynamics: A legal battle between prominent artists and producers can strain relationships within the music industry. The accused artists may face public scrutiny and damage to their reputation if they are found guilty. This could impact future collaborations and partnerships, as artists may become more cautious when collaborating with others, especially when it comes to using samples or copyrighted material.
Ultimately, the potential impact of Steely & Clevie winning their lawsuit against Tainy, J Balvin, Daddy Yankee, Nicky Jam, and Bad Bunny would depend on the specific details and outcomes of the case.