Eminem sues Apple over downloads

The music publishing companies that represent rap artist Eminem have filed a multimillion-dollar suit against Apple Inc. for selling downloads of Eminem’s music on iTunes online music service without compensating them. The suit could have ramifications for the current compensation plan that online music services have for divvying up profits between record labels and the publishing companies that hold rights to artists’ songs.

Typically, Apple charges US$0.99 a song for music downloaded from iTunes, and then compensates the artist’s record label a percentage of that sum. The label then will pay the music publishers of the artist a small portion of that sum.

But the suit, filed Monday in a U.S. District Court in Detroit by Eight Mile Style LLC and Martin Affiliated LLC, Eminem’s music publishers, attacks Apple. The publishers claim they are not receiving compensation from Universal Music Group, the record label that publishes Eminem’s albums.

Apple declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Eight Mile Style and Martin are requesting that the court order Apple to stop selling Eminem’s music on iTunes and are seeking profits Apple has earned from selling Eminem’s music. Alternatively, the companies seek statutory damages of up to $150,000 per act of infringement, which could tally up to millions of dollars. They are also seeking damages for “suffering” in excess of $75,000.

It is not the first time Eminem has had a disagreement with Apple. In 2003, the company used Eminem’s #1 song ‘Lose Yourself’ in an ad that appeared on MTV for three months, as well as on their official website.

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