Daddy Yankee, Black Eyed Peas, and Sony Music Face Infringement Suit Over Allegedly Unauthorized ‘Bailar Contigo’ Sample

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Daddy Yankee performing live. Photo Credit: Chrishonduras

Daddy Yankee, the Black Eyed Peas, and Sony Music are facing a copyright infringement lawsuit for allegedly sampling a recording in 2022’s “Bailar Contigo” without permission.

Denmark’s Iceberg Records, one division of a namesake 42-year-old music company, just recently submitted the straightforward complaint to a California federal court. The firmly worded action centers on the 1994 dance track “Scatman (Ski-Ba-Bop-Ba-Dop-Bop).”

Recorded and co-written by Scatman John, who passed away in 1999, the much-streamed song belongs to the plaintiff label on the master side; Iceberg also possesses 50 percent of the work’s publishing rights, per the suit. Ahead of the mid-November of 2022 release of the Black Eyed Peas’ Elevation, the plaintiff and the defendants are said to have hammered out a deal for the use of the underlying “Scatman” composition within “Bailar Contigo.”

Featuring the aforementioned Daddy Yankee, the latter track is the fifth on Elevation and boasts just shy of 70 million Spotify streams. “‘We hereby agree to the use of extracts from the composition,’” the appropriate agreement reads in part, with a 75 percent compositional stake and a five percent master income interest in “Bailar Contigo” afforded to the plaintiff as well, according to the suit.

Predictably, given the complaint, the plaintiff, citing purported similarities observed during a comparison, maintains that the defendants nevertheless incorporated the “Scatman” master into “Bailar Contigo.”

“Although it appears that Defendants attempted to manipulate the sound recording slightly to hide their infringement,” Iceberg wrote, “the work remains so strikingly similar to the Song that it could not have been created without using the Song’s sound recording.”

The defendants, the filing party drove home for good measure, “simply lied” about not utilizing the recording in an effort “to avoid paying a larger licensing fee.”

Suing for direct and contributory infringement as well as fraud, Iceberg is seeking damages, attorneys’ fees, and more. Digital Music News reached out to Sony Music for comment but didn’t receive a response in time for publishing; Iceberg founder and owner Manfred Zähringer told us he had “no comments presently.”

Last month, a federal judge dismissed with prejudice a years-old infringement complaint filed against Roddy Ricch over his 2019 hit “The Box.” Per the court, “no reasonable jury could find that the works are substantially similar.”

And in January, Sony Music, Travis Scott, Metro Boomin, and others were slapped with a separate sample-focused copyright infringement action, this time involving the alleged unauthorized appearance of “Bitches (Reply)” in 32-year-old Scott’s “Stargazing” and “Til Further Notice.”