Eminem Sues Apple…Again
Eminem’s music publisher, Eight Mile Style LLC, and his copyright manager, Martin Affiliated LLC, have filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against Apple Inc. claiming the the concern violated copyrights by allowing unauthorized downloads Em’s songs onto iPods. What?
In their suit filed yesterday, the music publisher and copyright manager assert that although Apple pays a portion of the revenues it collects from Eminem downloads to recording giant Universal Music Group, Eight Mile Style and Martin Affiliated have never authorized Universal to allow the downloads.
“Eight Mile and Martin have demanded that Apple cease and desist its reproduction and distribution and Apple has refused,” the complaint maintains. Apple has not commented publicly on the suit.
This is not the first time Eminem and Apple have butted heads. Eminem sued Apple in 2004 over the company’s use of the Eminem song Lose Yourself in a TV commercial for Apple’s iTunes music store. The case was eventually settled out of court.
The Future: So this is how it works… Apple sells a song for 99 cents. It then pays 70 cents of that amount to the record label, who in turn then pays the publisher a little over 9 cents. Now here’s the kicker: Eminem is claiming that a download is a licensing agreement, and not a sale. If it is determined that it is a licensing agreement (which it won’t be), then the 60 cents would be split 50/50 between the label and artist. If it is a sale, then the artist gets a much smaller royalty payment. So Emimen, who’s got the cajoÃ±es, is pushing that issue and forcing the courts to decide, or threatening to make the courts decide, in order to strongarm his label Interscope to give him a much better royalty payment. But wait! He’s not suing his label, he’s suing Apple! What gives??
The fact is many artist contracts don’t have provisions for selling digital downloads. Most artists have just gone along with their record company’s foray into this new “format” – but others, who have the leverage, have held out for bigger, better deals. Why Eminem has decided to sue Apple for copyright issues instead of Universal for non-authorization points to behind the scenes politics. Universal has already announced that they will not renew their iTunes contract â€” Are they trying to use Eminem’s dopey suit as additional leverage?