Musician Sues Over Transfer of Copyrighted Songs, Lack of Royalties

Musician Orlando Valle, as part of the musical group Plan B, sued Sony and other defendants for copyright infringement on Monday in the Puerto Rico District Court.  He claimed that defendant Los Magnifikos transferred exclusive administrative rights to Sony without his authorization and that he has not received money for his work from the defendants. As a result, Valle accused the defendants of violating the United States Copyright Act and the Declaratory Judgment Act, as well as breach of contract.

Professional musician and composer plaintiff Valle said he entered a publishing contract with Los Magnifikos Publishing in May 2010; the contract was for three years with the option to be extended. The contract ended in May 2014, it requires that the rights can only be assigned with the plaintiff’s prior consent. Valle alleged that Los Magnifikos assigned the rights to a number of Valle’s copyrighted songs to Sony/ATV without his consent or authorization. However, defendants Pina, Los Magnifikos, and Mafer claimed they “granted an exclusive administration agreement to Sony/ATV Music Publishing to manage Plaintiff’s publishing rights after Plaintiff’s contract with Los Magnifikos ended.” Valle said he has not seen this agreement or its terms. 

Additionally, Los Magnifikos was required to provide a semi-annual accounting of the money collected on the plaintiff’s behalf as per the contract, however, Valle asserted that Los Magnifikos has not made a payment since 2017. Valle alleged that “Sony/ATV has no rights in any of Mr. Valle’s Compositions because Los Magnifikos’ failure to account to Mr. Valle under the Publishing Agreement or pay Mr. Valle (artistically known as Chencho) any monies at all since 2017 constitutes both a material breach of the Publishing Agreement and a total failure of consideration for any transfer.”

Los Magnifikos lists itself as the copyright claimant and Valle as the co-author. Los Magnifikos said that it assigned exclusive administrative rights to co-defendant Sony/ATV Music Publishing “to manage the publishing aspects of the song[s]”; however, Valle claims that this was done without his consent and in violation of the agreements.  For example, one song, “Zapatito Roto” has been viewed at least 26 million times, for which Valle stated he has not received money or royalties from; the song is also available on Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer, Play Music, iHeart Radio and Amazon.

Valle claimed that his contract with Los Magnifikos was terminated because of the breaches of contract and the defendants’ infringement. The plaintiff alleged that all defendants have infringed his copyrighted work because they have “willingly, knowingly and without authorization produced, performed, synchronized, transmitted, retransmitted, sold and marketed…Valle’s songs, benefitting from his musical works, while infringing his copyrights because Los Magnifikos’ breaches of its contract with Mr. Valle were material.”

The plaintiff is represented by the Law Offices of Jane Becker Whitaker.