Music

Bad Bunny Sued by Ex-Girlfriend for Using Her Voice Memo in Songs Without Permission

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Bad Bunny

Bad Bunny, photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

Bad Bunny Sued by Ex-Girlfriend for Using Her Voice Memo in Songs Without Permission

Carliz De La Cruz Hernández’s voice recording saying “Bad Bunny, baby” was used in “Pa Ti” and “Dos Mil 16”

Bad Bunny is being sued by Carliz De La Cruz Hernández, his ex-girlfriend, for the unauthorized use of one of her voice recordings in his music, according to a new lawsuit viewed by Pitchfork. The voice memo features De La Cruz saying “Bad Bunny, baby” in a breathy voice and has been used in the 2016 single “Pa Ti” and Un Verano Sin Ti’s “Dos Mil 16.” She filed the lawsuit this month in a Puerto Rico court, claiming that both her voice and the phrase—which she allegedly came up with—are being used without her permission. She’s seeking $40 million as compensation.

“Thousands of people have commented directly on Carliz’s social media networks, as well as every time she goes to a public place, about ‘Bad Bunny, baby.’ This has caused, and currently causes, De La Cruz to feel worried, anguished, intimidated, overwhelmed and anxious,” reads a loose translation of the lawsuit. Also sued are Rimas Entertainment and Bad Bunny’s manager Noah Kamil Assad Byrne. Pitchfork has reached out to Bad Bunny’s representatives for comment.

Bad Bunny and De La Cruz started dating in 2011 and attended college together at the University of Puerto Rico the following year. According to the lawsuit, the Reggaetón artist was allegedly writing songs and often sought her input during this time period. She was allegedly in charge of handling invoices, managing contracts, and scheduling events. The lawsuit claims the phrase “Bad Bunny, baby” first surfaced in 2015, and Bad Bunny asked De La Cruz to record herself saying it. According to the complaint, the couple ultimately broke up in 2017.

In the lawsuit, De La Cruz claims that a representative for Bad Bunny contacted her in early May to gain permission to use her voice memo in a song. According to the complaint, she refused an offer of $2,000 to buy the recording and asked to discuss a contract for licensing her voice. “De La Cruz reiterated that the only way to formalize an agreement is if this was done in writing,” reads a translation of the lawsuit. 

De La Cruz claims that she and the representative met up to hear the track, and she once again refused to authorize the tag in the song, allegedly saying that she did not feel comfortable with it. One day before the release of Un Verano Sin Ti, the representative sent her a contract that was “excessively comprehensive, so she felt cheated,” according to the lawsuit. Hours before the album’s release, a different Rimas employee then allegedly sent an alternate contract seeking permission to use her voice memo in the upcoming “Dos Mil 16” and, retroactively, “Pa Ti.” The lawsuit claims that Un Verano Sin Ti came out one day later with the unauthorized voice memo.

“Since De La Cruz made it clear that she did not consent to its use, its publication constituted an act of gross negligence, bad faith, and, worse still, an attack on their privacy, morals, and dignity since all parties had and still have knowledge of these facts and even so decided to be reckless and break the law,” states a translation of the lawsuit. “Likewise, the publication of the song ‘Dos Mil 16’ without the consent of Carliz was carried out intentionally, in bad faith and for profit.”

Bad Bunny won the 2023 Grammy Award for Best Música Urbana Album for Un Verano Sin Ti. Last month, he was accused of copyright infringement over album cut “Enséñame a Bailar,” which Mr Eazi claimed both sampled and interpolated Joeboy’s 2021 song “Empty My Pocket” without giving credit or getting clearance. In April, Bad Bunny will become the first Latin artist to ever headline Coachella.

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