Eminem’s Publisher Rains On Apple’s Three-Billion-Download Parade

Jul 31st, 2007 // 9 Comments

eminemmic.jpgApple announced that it had sold three billion songs through the iTunes store today, but Eminem’s businesspeople were right there to spoil the party: Eight Mile Style, the company that publishes Eminem’s music, and Martin Affiliated, Em’s copyright manager, have filed a lawsuit against Apple alleging that the company has engaged in millions of dollars worth of copyright infringement by “illegally” selling Eminem songs via the iTunes Store. Apparently Eminem’s people have told Apple that the iTunes Store isn’t authorized to sell Eminem tracks and to pull the tracks from the store’s e-shelves, but Apple has refused, since its retail agreement is with Universal Music Group and not the artist directly:

Typically, Apple collects 99 cents each time an iPod owner downloads a song, with Apple paying 70 cents of that amount to the recording label, Sloane said. The recording label, in turn, typically pays 9.1 cents to the music publisher, he said.

In their complaint filed Monday, Eminem’s music publisher and copyright manager, Eight Mile Style LLC and Martin Affiliated LLC, allege 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 alleges.

An Apple spokesman had no immediate comment. …

Sloane said a related issue is how the 60.9 cents the recording label has left after it pays the music publisher should be divided between the recording label and the artist. If downloads are treated as licensing agreements, the 60.9 cents would be split equally, Sloane said. But if a download is treated as a sale, which is typical, the artist only gets a royalty, or a much smaller share of the 60.9 cents, he said.

We’re sure this isn’t the first time that Apple will be caught in the crossfire between labels and artists, as everyone tries to grab as much money as they can before the lights, finally, go out. But at least Eminem has someone else to be mad at on his next album aside from Kim Mathers, now, right?

Eminem suit targets Apple [Detroit News]

  1. Phineas Poe

    Steve Jobs is gonna find out you just don’t fuck around with peeps from the 313.

  2. Nicolars

    @Phineas Poe: More like 248 these days!

  3. Phineas Poe

    @Nicolars: Yeah, north of 8 mile.

  4. AquaLung

    This guy needs to go away forever on the same island with Michael Jackson, Kid Rock, Scott Stapp, Pete Wentz and every member of any reality show.

    Lose yourself indeed.

  5. Chris Molanphy

    This is total bullshit — in years past (2003 and 2005) Eminem benefited from not one, but two iTunes commercials using his music, one of which promoted his new album. Clearly he’s authorized this before, and if he didn’t, this lawsuit is awfully suey-come-lately.

  6. DeeW

    Let me get this straight: Apple is getting paid more than the artists?! No way! I wanna hang out with the dude who wrote Apple’s contract cuz he/she is a genius!

  7. janine

    This is about more than Eminem, no? If the contract doesn’t stipulate terms for digital downloads, why shouldn’t an artist try to negotiate those terms specifically? Especially when you consider that downloads are becoming a bigger and bigger chunk of the pie. I read this as giving an even bigger lie to the idea that iTunes and other legal download sites are for the protection of the artist. I forgot, this is a post Kelly Clarkson world where record companies are our heroes.

  8. queensissy

    Erm, whether this is a download or a sale, I think the industry agrees that the publishing is subject to a mechanical license (see the $0.091 cent rate, which is stat mechanical). Good luck trying to deny a mechanical license, Eight Mile Style…

  9. Wally

    The lawyers are going to love this case. The litigation should last for years, and it will cost Eminem all the money that he would have gotten if he had accepted the royalties that Apple is willing to offer him now.

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