Bad Bunny Accused of Copyright Infringement for Not Crediting Joeboy on ‘Enséñame a Bailar’
The founder of an Afrobeats label is publicly demanding that Bad Bunny give Nigerian artist Joeboy and his producer credit on the track “Enséñame a Bailar,” a song off the reggaeton star’s 2022 smash LP Un Verano Sin Ti.
In a call-to-action that accuses Bad Bunny and his record company Rimas Music of copyright infringement, Mr. Eazi — founder of emPawa Africa — claims that “Enséñame a Bailar” both interpolates and samples Joeboy’s “Empty My Pocket.”
Nine months after the release of the Album of the Year Grammy-nominated Un Verano Sin Ti — during which Mr. Eazi has lobbied for proper accreditation without success — the emPawa founder has gone public with his request to have Joeboy and producer Dëra proper publishing, songwriting, and feature credits on the track.
“The team at emPawa Africa have attempted to sort this issue amicably since May of last year with our mutual legal teams,” Mr. Eazi said in a statement. “But the intent of Rimas Music is clearly to blatantly appropriate young African creators’ work for their gain without attribution.”
While a lawsuit has not yet been filed, the publishing of “Enséñame a Bailar” has been placed in dispute, meaning no payouts on the track’s revenue will be distributed until the issue is resolved.
Mr. Eazi continued, “We will not accept Bad Bunny and Rimas denying Joeboy and Dëra credits and a share in the ownership of a song they wrote, composed and, in Joeboy’s case, even performed on.”
Bad Bunny is not unfamiliar with Mr. Eazi or his work: The two previously collaborated on “Como Un Bebé,” from J Balvin and Bad Bunny’s joint 2019 album Oasis, and a track that Mr. Eazi says showcases an early example of reggaeton music borrowing from Afrobeats.
“Unfortunately this is part of a broader pattern we see in how the wider music industry approaches the IP [intellectual property] of African artists,” said Mr. Eazi, citing how late Cameroonian musician and disco pioneer Manu Dibango had claims against Michael Jackson and Rihanna regarding similarities between “Soul Makossa” and “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’” and “Don’t Stop The Music,” respectively.
“Afrobeats has become a global phenomenon, and everybody wants to sample a piece of it. Unfortunately, afrobeats artists, their producers and labels often have to pursue legal means to secure publishing and royalties after songs they originally created are co-opted without credit by other artists.”
Prior to Thursday’s public demand, Mr. Eazi turned to social media to state his claims against Bad Bunny:
In a statement sent to Rolling Stone, Rimas Entertainment formally denied accusations of wrongdoing and claims that they purchased the master track from record producer Lakizo Entertainment prior to releasing “Enséñame a Bailar.” According to the statement, emPawa contacted Rimas after the song came out and claimed ownership over the master track. The statement alleges that emPawa failed to provide proof of ownership to Rimas’ lawyers and sent a heavily redacted contract that “only served to raise more questions about the validity of their claims.” Rimas denies that they have been “unresponsive” and says they have not been able to obtain a un-redacted version of the agreement from emPawa.
“We are deeply concerned by the copyright infringement accusations made by Oluwatosin Oluwole Ajibade (Mr Eazi), the founder of emPawa Africa, on the track ‘Enséñame a Bailar,'”the statement reads. “We want to make it clear that at all times, Rimas Entertainment has acted properly and has followed standard industry protocols.”
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