​Complaining Work

​Defending Work

Joel Bosh

"Yo Soy Boricua"

Audio Recording

Univision

Advertisement for Spanish language Sesame Street

Audio Recording

 

Comment by Charles Cronin

The complaint (linked below) asserts that the defendant's Sesame Street advertisement infringes upon the unfortunately named plaintiff [Bosh]'s hit "Yo Soy Boricua" but never specifies how it does so. In fact, the only commonality between the two works is the phrase "Yo Soy Boricua" ["I'm Puerto Rican" or "I'm Puerto Rico"] chanted ad nauseum in the plaintiff's recording of his noisy number, and spoken several times in the high voice of a child in defendant's ad. Of course copyright does not protect the brief declarative phrase "Yo Soy Boricua" any more than it does "I'm American" and there are no musical similarities whatever beween the pop number and TV advertisement.

The brief phrase may evoke the plaintiff's song in the minds of those who have heard it, but such an association is not the basis for copyright protection. For example, in the 1980s American politicians used the short expression "Where's the beef?" which conjured, in the minds of many, a then widely broadcast ad for Wendy's, the fast food chain. "Where's the beef" is not copyrightable expression and, like Joel Bosh in the "Boricua" dispute, Wendy's could not prevent politicians and others from using it simply because the company had used the expression in their broadly disseminated ads.

      

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Complaint: PDF