Eminem's music publisher, Eight Mile Style LLC, and copyright manager, Martin Affiliated LLC, filed suit against Apple today in a Detroit U.S. District court for copyright infringement. The suit alleges that Apple did not have permission to sell Mr. Mathers' material for downloading on its iTunes Music Store. "Eight Mile and Martin have demanded that Apple cease and desist its reproduction and distribution and Apple has refused," reads the suit.
Apple apparently did have the go-ahead from Universal Music Group, which receives a portion of Eminem's iTunes sales, but the suit claims the plantiffs never gave the record company permission to put Eminem's music online.
The suit seeks more than $75,000 for copyright violation, unfair competition and a violation of the Michigan consumer protection act, and up to $150,000 in damages per download. Do the math. That's a lot of money, as between 70 and 80 Eminem songs are in question here.
This isn't the first lawsuit between the plaintiffs and Apple, by the way; Em's music handlers also sued the company in 2004 when Apple used the Oscar-winning tune "Lose Yourself" in an iTunes commercial. The case was settled out of court for an undisclosed sum. In 2005, they also sued five companies that were selling Eminem ring tone downloads. That case was also settled out of court.
We'll keep you posted on future developments...but this case could be huge and the settlement could reverberate throughout the music industry. for years to come.
Speaking of performing rights for artists, Michigan Congressman John Conyers, Jr., is hosting a Performance Rights Town Hall meeting tomorrow, June 2nd, in Detroit, featuring members of Congress, musicians and radio representatives, to discuss the Performance Rights Act -- a bill to provide royalties to artists and musicians when their music is played on AM and FM radio. The forum takes place at Wayne State University Law School Auditorium, Room 3332, 3rd Floor, 471 W. Palmer, Detroit, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. In addition to Mr. Conyers, others on the panel include Congresswoman Shelia Jackson Lee (D-Houston), Dionne Warwick, Martha Reeves, Duke Fakir of the Four Tops, Sam Moore of Sam & Dave, musician Ralph Armstrong, Kendall Minter (Executive Director of the Rhythm & Blues Foundation), Paul Porter (co-founder of Industry Ears, Inc.), Gordon Stump, (president of American Federation of Musicians Local #5), Saundra Williams (of Metro Detroit AFL-CIO, Central Labor Council), and Tony Gray (president of Gray Communications).
Eminem meets "Bruno" on last night's MTV Movie Awards: It was obviously staged, people...!