Romeo Santos, the “King of Bachata,” Secures Dismissal of Music Copyright Infringement Claim

December 20, 2019 – Press Releases

Multi-platinum Latin recording artist Romeo Santos, the “King of Bachata,” and his record label Sony Music Entertainment, Inc., represented by Fox Rothschild partner David Aronoff, won dismissal of copyright infringement claims brought against them by plaintiff Nazim I. Guity, who alleged that Santos’ 2014 hit song “Eres Mia” infringed the copyright of his 2011 song of the same name.

In Fox Rothschild’s successful motion to dismiss, Aronoff argued that Guity failed to state a claim because there is no “substantial similarity” in protectable expression between the Guity track and Santos’ “Eres Mia” hit, and therefore no copyright infringement.

Defendants presented the Court with audio files of both songs and certified Spanish-to-English translations of the lyrics. The Court determined after a detailed review, that “no reasonable jury could find substantial similarity” between the songs.

“Overall, the two songs have little in common other than their title,” wrote Judge P. Kevin Castel of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, in his opinion and order granting the motion to dismiss. "[N]o reasonable jury could find substantial similarity between the Santos Song and either specific protectable elements of the Guity Song or the Guity Song taken in its entirety….” The Court ruled that Santos had not appropriated any “protectable element” of the Guity song and had not produced a work that was substantially similar in its “total concept or overall feel.”

“We are pleased to see the court recognize the lack of similarity in these songs,” Aronoff said. “The decision strongly supports artistic freedom at a time when many recording artists are targets, and allows our clients to avoid the unfair burden and expense of an unnecessary trial.”

Aronoff, a partner in the firm’s Entertainment & Sports Law Department, has nearly 30 years of experience handling a variety of complex entertainment and media law issues, including copyright, breach of contract, trademark, right of publicity, accounting and defamation claims.

Fox partner John Cornell Fuller, who handles a variety of commercial and criminal litigation matters including intellectual property litigation, assisted Aronoff in the case.