Mar 13, 2024 - News

Bad Bunny sues fan for posting concert footage on social media

Bad Bunny performs on stage wearing mostly black.

Bad Bunny performs during a Feb. 23 stop of the Most Wanted Tour at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Photo: David Becker/Getty Images

Global megastar Bad Bunny has filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against a fan who recorded and uploaded footage of his Salt Lake City concert on social media.

Why it matters: The outcome of the lawsuit could have a chilling effect on concert-goers who are thinking about posting videos of their favorite musicians online.

What's inside: In a lawsuit filed March 8, the Puerto Rican singer, whose real name is Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio, is seeking up to $150,000 for each of the 10 songs recorded at the Feb. 21 concert at the Delta Center and posted by a Madrid-based YouTube account.

Reality check: Bad Bunny doesn't have a history of suing fans who have raised their phones to capture video of his performances. A few things make this case exceptional:

  • YouTube removed the videos at Bad Bunny's request, but the account owner, Eric Guillermo Madroñal Garrone, responded with a "counter-notification" arguing the videos do not violate copyright laws because they amounted to news content.
  • That triggered a 10-day deadline for Bad Bunny to respond with evidence he has taken "legal action against the uploader," or Garrone's videos would be reposted. Filing a lawsuit provides that evidence.

Inside the venue: At the concert in Salt Lake City, where he kicked off his "Most Wanted Tour," thousands of people recorded portions of his set.

The other side: Attorneys representing Bad Bunny did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment.

Flashback: Bad Bunny has expressed annoyance for being filmed in the past.

  • Last year, he drew scrutiny after a viral clip showed him snatching an eager fan's phone from her hands and throwing it in the water during a visit to the Dominican Republic.
  • He defended his actions in a video on social media explaining that shoving a phone in front of his face demonstrated a "lack of respect."
  • In one of his latest songs "NADIE SABE," he revisited the controversial clash, rapping "You're not my real fan, that's why I threw the cell phone" in Spanish.

The big picture: Social media feeds in the past year have been dominated by clips from Beyoncé and Taylor Swift's stadium tours that were shot by fans, elevating buzz around their celebrity and concerts.

  • On TikTok alone, fan footage from Bad Bunny's ongoing tour has garnered millions of views.

Yes, but: "Technically, any of us who record a concert and then put it up are probably committing copyright infringement," said Brett Crockett, an intellectual property attorney at TechLaw Ventures in Salt Lake.

  • Most performers don't enforce their copyright in lawsuits because personal video clips have promotional value and get fans excited about tours, Crockett told Axios.
  • The risk rises when entire songs or shows are posted, especially by accounts that monetize their content, he added.

Between the lines: Some performers rigidly enforce recording bans — and not just to protect their intellectual property.

The latest: Garrone's entire YouTube account was listed as "unavailable" as of Wednesday.

  • Google search returns showed the YouTube account linked to an Instagram account, which still had footage of the crowd before the concert — but the only music was another artist's recording on the sound system.

Threat level: If you're worried about legal risk after an alert that your concert video is being removed from social media for copyright infringement, the safest route is to "just let them take it down and let it die," Crockett said.

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