Sunday, August 05, 2007

Eminem's music publisher sues Apple over downloads

Eminem has filed a federal lawsuit against Apple for allowing music downloads onto iPods without permission. The suit, filed in Detroit by Eight Mile Style and Martin Affiliated, alleges that Apple has not compensated them for 70 to 80 songs, including tracks from the Grammy Award-winning "The Eminem Show” which has sold some 7.6 million copies.

The company seeks more than $75,000 for copyright infringement, unfair competition and a violation of the Michigan consumer protection act. It also asks for damages of up to $150,000 each time a song is downloaded. Apple is reported as repeatedly asking Eight Mile Style for permission to use its copyrighted songs for downloads which has been denied.

But Eight Mile Style attorney Norman Ankers contends that record companies need permission from copyright holders before downloads can be authorized. Universal Music distributes the songs through the Interscope recording company and Apple offers them for download.

The lawsuit says users pay Apple a fixed fee of 99 cents to download a song. Recording companies get about 70 cents of that amount with music copyright holders generally receiving about nine cents for each download.

This becomes a classic case of whose copyright is it with Eight Mile Style being the publisher and Universal the producer. The music publisher sued Apple in 2004 for copyright infringement, alleging that Apple used Eminem's "Lose Yourself" in commercial TV ads for its iTunes music store. The case was settled out of court.

An interesting case to watch and not just for music.