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Eminem’s Music Publisher Sues Apple Computer over Music Downloads

eminem.jpgAttorneys for Eminem’s music publisher and copyright manager filed suit against Apple Computer Inc. on Monday (July 30) claiming that the computer giant is selling the rapper’s music through their iTunes Music Store without proper permission. According to the Detroit News, Eight Mile Style LLC and Martin Affiliated LLC filed the multimillion-dollar suit against the iPod manufacturer in U.S. District Court in Detroit on Monday. The two companies allege that, although Apple pays Em’s label—Universal Music Group—a portion of the 99 cents they earn from each iTunes sale, the publisher and copyright manager never granted Universal permission to authorize the downloads. The suit further claims that “Eight Mile and Martin have demanded that Apple cease and desist its reproduction and distribution and Apple has refused.” The Detroit News spoke with entertainment lawyer Owen Sloane who says the suit is likely a sign of an impending increase in litigation of this type.

Musicians and the copyright holders of their material feel that the rights that record labels hold to the music does not in turn entitle them to sell and profit from digital downloads. Currently, Apple pays about 70 cents of their 99-cent download fee to the artist’s record label, which, in turn, pays about 9.1 cents to the music publisher. According to Sloane, the problem lies in how the remaining 60.9 cents is distributed. Since digital downloads are typically treated as sales, the artist is only entitled to a royalty, which is a small percentage of that amount. If the transactions were treated as licensing agreements, the artist would receive a larger amount. Eight Mile Style and Martin previously sued Apple in 2004 over the unauthorized use of Em’s smash hit “Lose Yourself” in a commercial for the iTunes music store. The case was later settled out of court.

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