A dispute between Eminem and Apple Inc. has once again come to legal blows, with the Detroit rapper and his music publisher filing a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against the iTunes operator for alleged copyright violations.
At issue is is whether record labels have the right to turn an artist's CD recordings into digital music downloads on the Internet, or whether further permission is needed from the music publishers who hold the copyrights to the lyrics and sheet music.
Typically, Apple collects 99 cents each time an iPod owner downloads a song, with the company paying 70 cents of that amount to the recording label. The recording label, in turn, then typically pays 9.1 cents to the music publisher.
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 suit charged.
This isn't the first time that Apple and Eminem turned to the courts. In 2004, Eight Mile Style and Martin also sued Apple over its use of the Eminem song "Lose Yourself" in a TV commercial for Apple's iTunes music store. The ad, which aired on MTV, featured a 10-year-old singing the lyrics to the Oscar-winning track.
The suit was later settled out of court for an undisclosed financial sum.