​Reggaeton stars say copyright lawsuit could “monopolise” entire genre

today07/12/2023 7

share close

Over 100 reggaeton stars are battling it out in a lawsuit that claims hundreds of tracks have ripped off one original 1989 track from Jamaican artists Steely & Clevie.

The lawsuit has been ongoing since 2021, targeting artists including Bad Bunny, Daddy Yankee, Pitbull, Anitta, Luis Fonsi, and Karol G, claiming copyright infringement of Steely & Clevie original reggae track ‘Fish Market’.

Lawyers are arguing that the suit “effectively claims ownership of an entire genre of music,” and claim that it looks to “monopolise” the genre in the widespread case, filed against more than 100 artists and labels.

Read this next: Daddy Yankee reveals he’s quitting music to focus on faith

Steely & Clevie are claiming that ‘Fish Market’ has been sampled or interpolated almost 2,000 times since its release in 1989, using a popular “dembow” rhythm commonly heard in reggaeton.

Reggaeton stars are now fighting back against the case, asking for the lawsuit to be thrown out. In documents obtained by Dancehall Mag, 107 of the 150+ musicians named as defendants filed motions in June to dismiss the case.

Lawyers for Pryor Cashman, who recently won a copyright lawsuit for Ed Sheeran, explained: “Plaintiffs [are] effectively claiming ownership of an entire genre of music by claiming exclusive rights to the rhythm and other unprotectable musical elements common to all ‘reggaeton’-style songs.”

Read this next: Mr Eazi accuses Bad Bunny of copyright infringement

Cashman represents 80 musicians in the case, Billboard reports, including Stefflon Don, Justin Bieber, and Ricky Martin, and is arguing that the size of the case has made it difficult.

“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,” they said (via Billboard).

US District Judge Andre Birotte Jr. has declined to issue an immediate ruling following a two-hour hearing regarding the defence motion to dismiss the case.

Gemma Ross is Mixmag’s Assistant Editor, follow her on Twitter

Written by: Tim Hopkins

Rate it