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Red card for Mexican composer: passion for football


From Mexico and Spain we read a debate about a potential case of copyright infringement.
The Mexican football club ‘Club America’ has released this month a new hymn celebrating its centennial. The song was launched during the half time of the game against Tijuana on Saturday October 15th.

The hymn created much controversy in social media since it is claimed that the hymn is similar to another football club, that is the ‘Sevilla’ from Spain (the hymn can be heard here).

Image result for club america himno centenario
The authorship of the alleged infringed song belongs to the Mexican group Matute, headed by Jorge D'Alessio. After the social media war, he claimed that "there is no copying or plagiarism" in the hymn while the football club separated from any responsibility. The band also noted that there was no ‘intention’. In this regards it is important to note that intention is not needed for an action of infringement since it is strict liability.

Finally, the Mexican football club released a communication stating that "although the musical work is an original work, it has caused some discomfort, therefore this song will never be used by the Club". Why this reaction? the work was commissioned and depending on the contract, they may be the owner of the song and even if the club wants to separate itself from this controversy and keep using it, they are liable (Art 231 of the Mexican Federal Law on Copyright) .

Jorge D'Alessio also published a statement: “Club America asked me to conduct, through the figure of commissioned work, the anthem of the 'centenary', not the official anthem, which I lovingly did as I am fond of the America. You should know that there is no mutilation, copy, distortion, or so-called plagiarism, nor in the letter or the music composed.” It continues “experts in the field are already making the necessary expertise in order to compare the two compositions.”

Good to know:

  • The Mexican Federal Law on Copyright for the purpose of ensuring legal security of authors and owners of copyright, advice authors to register the work in the Public Copyright Register (art 162). However the same provision of law clarifies that even if literary and artistic works and neighbouring rights are not registered, the law still protect them. This goes in line with the Berne Convention which grants this right without the need of any formality.
  • Practice of infringement can be for direct or indirect profit-making purposes (art 231).
  • The use of language in D’Alessio’s statement i.e. ‘distorted, or mutilated’ are type of infringements covered in art 231(iv).
  • The author of a work is the perpetual owner of the moral rights in works created by him (art 18).

Sources and more info here, here and here.

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