Monday, 13 September 2010

Salsa legend accused of plagiarism

Legendary musician Willie Colon, Puerto Rican salsa musician born in New York, was detained by Peruvian police. On Saturday night, after a successful concert in the Peruvian capital, Willie Colon, was intercepted by police agents, on orders by attorney Lucila Cabrera, an expert in intellectual property crime.

Cabrera ordered the arrest because Colon defied a subpoena - a writ requiring appearance in court to give testimony, and failed to appear in court on charges of plagiarism filed by local composer Walter Fuentes.

The musician is accused of having plagiarized the song "Llego la banda”. Fuentes, a Peruvian writer, claims to be the composer of the song and argues that he registered it on 1973. The news noted that Colon recorded the song “La Banda” in 1974.

In Peru, copyright, known as ‘derecho de autor’ (droit d'auteur), is registrable. However, note that registration is merely optional for authors and its omission shall not prejudice the enjoyment or full exercise of the rights recognized and guaranteed by the national Copyright Act - Decreto Legislativo Nº 822, Art 170

Willie Colon was released at noon after being arrested by police. Breach of copyright is punishable not only by monetary sanctions but also by a punitive sentence (Decreto Legislativo Nº 822, Capitulo VI ). However, the Peruvian law allows the reconciliation between conflicting parties.

Walter Fuente’s daughter, Patricia Fuentes, told reporters that a representative of Willie Colon offered him $ 5,000 to withdraw the complaint, but said that the family did not accept it. The offer of money appears to be ratified by Willie Colon’s attorney who said that “the singer tries to arrange payment of compensation but that does not mean that there was plagiarism of the song.”

For more info regarding the Copyright Law in Peru, click here.For oldies songs sang by Willie Colon, here - Gitana, here – periodico de ayer, and here – el gran varon.

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