​Complaining Work

​Defending Work

Luis Cortes-Ramos

World Cup/FIFA Song Contest Entry

Audio Recording

Ricky Martin


Audio Recording


Comment by Charles Cronin

This dispute is a cautionary tale to pop musicians like Ricky Martin who involved his fans — at least theoretically — in creating and choosing his repertory. Imagine the Plaintiff’s hopes and optimistic projections, having become one of twenty finalists in the competition to write a song Martin would sing at the World Cup. And then the deep disappointment at not winning, which fed his belief that Martin must have taken advantage of him by copying the song Plaintiff submitted.


This resentment appears to have generated the Complaint. There is no statement, let alone a cogent one, delineating copying of any specific protected musical expression; just a sweeping and meaningless allegation to the effect that Martin’s music video was “almost identical” to the Plaintiff’s, and the “surprise, disappointment, anger, disillusionment, and mental anguish” Plaintiff endured, which could be compensated only by Defendant paying him $10,000,000.


The district and circuit courts that have entertained this claim have not yet considered the substantive question of infringement. Instead they have dealt with procedural challenges and, on April 13, 2020, First Circuit Judge Dyk overturned the lower court’s dismissal of the case with prejudice, which was based on the the fact that Plaintiff did not have a valid copyright registration for the allegedly infringed work. The First Circuit returned the case to the district court, advising it to consider allowing the Plaintiff to make his claim legally sufficient by amending it after having secured a copyright registration. Most likely this opportunity will only delay the inevitable dismissal of the claim, but perhaps the plaintiff hopes his doggedness will pay off in an eventual settlement from Martin, who may simply want to stop the hemorrhaging attorney’s fees he would almost certainly never recover.



Complaint: PDF

Opinion by Judge Barron: PDF

Opinion by Judge Timothy Dyk: PDF