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District Court for the Western District of Texas, San Antonio Division, No. 5:19-cv-00114 (W.D. Tex. Feb. 08, 2019)

​Complaining Work

​Defending Work

Esmeralda Lucy Rodriguez


Audio Recording

Esmeralda Lucy Rodriguez

“Pediré” (“cover” recording by Courtney Rico and Eric Avalos

Comment by Charles Cronin

According to the Complaint, the Defendant infringed the Plaintiff’s song by recording a “cover” of it without her authorization. In fact, the Defendant did not need such authorization. Because the Plaintiff had already released her recording of the song the Defendant could have legally made his own recording had he done so under a compulsory license and paid royalties to the Plaintiff. Apparently he chose a riskier approach based on a notion the Plaintiff owed him money (the Complaint’s list of the Plaintiff’s bona fides does state that she had achieved “a significant amount of public notoriety“!). This tack, worsened by his ignoring the legal action brought against him, backfired badly. Judge Xavier Rodriguez (presumably unrelated to Plaintiff) awarded Plaintiff about $30,000 in damages and attorney’s fees — likely hundreds of times the total royalties Defendant would have owed the Plaintiff had he earlier complied with the law. Query, however, whether the Plaintiff ultimately obtained this money, or any of the interest it may have accrued.

Complaint: PDF

Final Judgement: PDF