Bad Bunny, Karol G, Daddy Yankee, and More Stars Want This Reggaetón Lawsuit Thrown Out
Attorneys for numerous artists from Luis Fonsi and Anitta to Pitbull and Karol G are responding to a lawsuit that claims that hundreds of reggaetón songs infringed the copyright of one reggae track from 1989. They want the lawsuit tossed.
The original case, filed by Jamaican duo Steely & Clevie in 2021, claims that nearly 2,000 songs have sampled and interpolated the reggae track “Fish Market” since its release.
On Thursday, 107 of the more than 150 musicians named as defendants filed three motions asking a judge to dismiss the case, according to documents obtained by Dancehall Mag.
One of the motions filed by Bad Bunny and his label Rimas Music argued that the lawsuit seeks to “monopolize practically the entire Reggaeton musical genre for themselves by claiming copyright ownership of certain legally irrelevant and/or unprotectable, purported musical composition elements.”
Another motion, filed by Pryor Cashman who represents more than 80 musicians including Pitbull, Rauw Alejandro, Ricky Martin, Stefflon Don, and Justin Bieber, argued that the size of the case made it a disaster and that the attorneys for Clevie and Steely hadn’t satisfied “the fundamental elements of a copyright infringement claim,” per Billboard. (Cashman represented Ed Sheeran in a similar trial earlier this year.)
“The [complaint] is a ‘shotgun pleading’ filled with conclusory allegations that lump defendants together, making it impossible for Defendants to determine what each is alleged to have done, what works are at issue and what in those works is allegedly infringing,” the attorneys wrote, per Billboard.
The original complaint traced through the history of reggaetón and claimed that songs starting from the early Nineties started to pull from the Steely & Clevie 1989 track. Among the tracks named in the lawsuit, per DanceHallMag, are Drake and Bad Bunny’s “Mía,” Daddy Yankee’s “Dura” and “Gasolina,” along with “Taki Taki” by Selena Gomez, DJ Snake, Ozuna, and Cardi B.
WK Records, Pitbull’s Mr. 305 Inc., Maluma, Myke Tower, and ten other defendants responsible for 376 songs named in the suit filed the third motion to dismiss the case. “Plaintiffs claim ownership of an entire genre of basic core music – the ‘rhythm of “reggaeton” based upon simple, rote, unprotectable common music elements, which are nothing more than common drum beats of single notes,” they stated in their filing.
Acording to Billboard, if the motions are denied, the case will proceed into discovery where each side will share evidence before a trial.
“Plaintiffs neither filed any action nor registered any copyrights until 2020 — at least thirty years after the creation of the works,” read a statement from some accused artists’ lawyers, per Billboard. “These failures constitute misleading inaction, during which an entire genre of reggaeton music developed, which plaintiffs now claim to own.”