YouTube Thieves owe $3M to Bad Bunny, Julio Iglesias, & Other Latin Artists

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By LatAm Reports Editor

In a landmark ruling, Jose “Chenel” Teran and Webster “Yenddi” Batista Fernandez, the masterminds behind an unprecedented YouTube royalty theft, have been ordered to repay over $3.3 million to a group of Latin musicians they defrauded. This restitution, while significant, represents only a portion of the estimated $23 million the duo illicitly gained from artists like Bad Bunny, Julio Iglesias, Don Omar, and others between 2016 and 2021.

Operating under their company, MediaMuv, Teran and Batista falsely claimed rights to over 50,000 songs, funneling the proceeds into extravagant lifestyles marked by luxury cars, opulent real estate, and costly jewelry. Their scheme unraveled with their November 2021 indictment on charges including conspiracy, wire fraud, money laundering, and identity theft.

Sentenced earlier this year, Teran received a nearly six-year prison term, while Batista faces four years. The court has mandated that the pair gradually repay the stolen royalties post-release, splitting the $3.3 million restitution. Among the victims, Regalias Digitales is owed about $1.4 million, and the RIAA over $1.2 million, with individual artists like Jose Luis Perales and groups like Los Caminantes also listed as creditors.

Notably, Reggaeton sensation Bad Bunny was among those impacted by the scam, with MediaMuv unlawfully claiming $500 from his royalties. In the wake of these events, responses from representatives of Regalias Digitales and the RIAA have been notably absent. INAMU, Argentina’s National Institute of Music, played a pivotal role in uncovering the fraud in collaboration with AdRev, a digital rights firm. While AdRev, once a business partner of Teran and Batista, has not been implicated in the wrongdoing, their association with MediaMuv has drawn scrutiny. Despite warnings about the duo’s dubious claims, AdRev continued their partnership, an earlier investigation by Billboard revealed.