back to article Eminem sues Apple - again

Eminem's music publisher has filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against Apple over iTunes downloads, alleging the company is violating copyrights by selling the rapper's song online. The lawsuit was filed Monday in US District Court in Detroit by Ferndale-based Eight Mile Style and Eminem's copyright manager, Martin Affiliated …

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  1. Fred Fnord

    Well, is anyone surprised?

    Okay, so although I loathe both the 'man' and his 'music', I have to admit he was fully justified in his first lawsuit.

    That said, is anyone surprised that he's a big enough ass that he's decided that the test case for whether music downloads count as licensing or as sales should not be some worthy musician who deserves a bigger cut of his modest album sales, but a spoiled brat who has found what he thinks is a way to get revenge on the company he now hates?

    Ye gods. If these are today's 'stars', when the older crop begins to die down some we're going to have a sky full of awfully dim bulbs...

    -fred

  2. Andy Bright

    How are downloads a licensing agreement?

    If I go to iTunes, I don't go there to license songs from EMI or Universal - I go there to buy songs. If stealing music via p2p is like walking into a store and stealing a CD - then buying music on iTunes is like walking into a store and buying a CD.

    The fact that more online music is wrapped up in DRM than CDs (not for much longer I fear) is neither here nor there. I'm buying, iTunes is selling. That's called sales.

    A licensing agreement on the other hand is where a radio station pays a fee to play all music under the license for a given fee per song or 1000 songs or whatever the terms happen to be.

    It's also relevant when I chose to use someone's song in an advert. In those cases I'm not buying a song, because it's for public broadcast - you can only license songs for this purpose.

    If I did a cover album I would have to license music, etc. There are lots of ways to license music. But if you are buying for your personal collection, that is a sale pure and simple. You are bound by a copyright agreement, not a licensing agreement.

    It seems to me that publishers would be better off not dealing with music labels in the first place - if they have the personnel and systems to market and distribute the music themselves. That way they would be in control of everything, and would receive more than just royalties for sales.

    Unfortunately for them, most publishers or management are just a bunch of people that have contacts with record labels - and essentially take their cut by hooking up so-called talent with people that do have the personnel, contacts and distribution system to actually sell the artists music. I don't like labels, I think they all rip off the people they represent - but if they go, for the sake of the artists, something needs to replace them. Without labels there would be no marketing, no talk show appearances, radio play or anything else that would actually bring the attention of the public to the artist's music.

    Doesn't take a genius to work out what's needed to wipe labels from the face of the earth - but until thats in place I don't see how artists can do without them.

  3. Gilbert Wham

    Give It Time.

    What's the betting that as soon as Stevie J feels he's in a position to freeze the big players out, iTunes becomes a label in its own right?

  4. Andrew Moore

    So does that mean....

    ...that if I buy a song from iTunes then I have a license for it??? Can I use it in my adverts then???

  5. heystoopid

    Interesting conundrum

    Interesting conundrum , but since all computer software is both licensed and routinely copyrighted by its very nature , then by convoluted logic anything that the computer can play or view must also be subject to some form of a license agreement as well!

    In the interim , since all big four major labels have lost an average of sixteen percent per annum in sales revenue since the peak year of the end of 2000 AD , they need every razoo and penny they can extract from every scheme they can think of in order to justify the 20% plus top management self awarded pay hikes since the end of the last century , whilst simultaneously reducing the workforce within the industry and make those remaining work twice as hard whilst , paying them peanuts !

    Eminen , is just another one of the many in the new music genre , hear once , throw up and then totally forget because it literally sucks genre that bribed radio stations routinely foist upon the listening public!

    Oh well , back to listening to Listening to Lili Marleen as sung by Lale Andersen and the Glenn Miller Orchestra compositions , to soothe the jaded ears!

  6. Morely Dotes

    Easy solution

    Remove all of Eminem's music from iTunes - and add a boit to automatically delete any reference to Eminem and his label(s) from user comments, etc.

    I use the term "music" loosely, of course. It's analogous to calling fecal matter "food."

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    eula ?

    Software is also sold on cd &download but you do not own it . You have a license to use it how is digital music different . At the end of the day it's all ones & zeros and most of it is crap.

  8. studentrights

    I don't see how this is Apple's problem.

    I guess Eminem isn't doing so well these days, since his boys need to pull a stunt like this to get some free publicity.

    I don't see how this is Apple's problem. It's Universal Music Group that botched this up. If UMG didn't have the rights and sold them to Apple , they are to blame. Plain and simple.

  9. Glyn

    Apple's problem/fault

    If you set yourself as a car dealership selling stolen cars for profit, you can't avoid any blame by saying "oh well i bought them off some guy, if he didn't have the right to sell them he's to blame, so p1ss off and deal with him direct, I'll carry on selling and keep these profits I've banked along the way".

    Or if you're waiting patiently at a stop sign and car A shunts into the back of you, and he says its because car B ran into the back of him. You don't really care whether C hit B or not, whether C was going too fast, B's lights were out, B & C had some kind of agreement that C would be allowed to drive into the back of B on certain days of the month. What concerns you is the fact that the back of your car is messed up, because driver B hit it.

    Why B hit you is not your concern - it wasn't your own fault, so it must be B's fault, so you sue him and he can sue someone else if he wants to.

    Although if the cars were all being driven under some complex DRM agreement I don't know if the above is true. Does having a drivers licence count?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good thing in the long run

    Whatever you think of either the "big 4" record companies, iTunes or the chap named after chocolate peanuts, all this is part of the change process that leads us ever further away from the current status quo in the music industry. And that can only be good.

    People on on this site and in the tech industry appreciate more than most the way that the old model is not relevant anymore.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A much bigger problem for Universal...

    "I don't see how this is Apple's problem. It's Universal Music Group that botched this up. If UMG didn't have the rights and sold them to Apple , they are to blame. Plain and simple."

    It's called larceny and in the amounts concerned maybe even Grand Larceny. Which is a nice one if em decided to file charges.....

  12. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    You're only buying a licence anyway

    You cannot actually buy a song or a film or whatever. You always buy a licence for the song. What you usually own is the medium on which the song is stored: of course the music industry doesn't usually offer discounts when you are simply buying a new medium for something you have already licensed (ie. when millions of people updated their LP collections to CDs).

    It's pretty difficult to argue about a physical medium for a download and DRM makes it looks very much like a licence only. Who knows what the courts will make of it but seems to be a good case to me.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    CD?

    Ok anyone want to bet that Mr "Song about Hayley or (ex)Wife" is due to release a new album or single soon.....

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Woah, bitchy crew in today

    Complaining that Eminem is not star material is obvious bollocks, evident from that fact you know his name, his music and have formed a strong opinion on him.

    To imply his music is generic indicates that you have rather stupidly formed an opinion without listening to him. He's one of the cleverest and most original writers of lyrics for a long time. There is a lot of self-referential rubbish but that seems standard in the hip-hop world.

  15. James Snowsill

    Definitely a licence

    I think that he has a point here as if I "buy" a song off iTunes then I haven't actually bought it as I can't do anything with it without iTune's permission; I can't sell it on and I can't play it on any player that I want.

    Seems like every other software licence that I've seen then.

  16. A J Stiles

    Interesting idea for future music market

    I have a proposal for the future of the music marketplace.

    Firstly, allow copyrights to be subject to expropriation and lien. If you want to treat "intellectual property" just like real property, then that includes the ability for people to take it off you. This also means that someone who owns rights in a song can now use them as collateral for a loan (of course, they still have to convince the lender that the rights are viable).

    Secondly, introduce a requirement that the holders of rights _which are not mortgaged_ must licence them equitably. This means that just because Company A are selling your albums, you can't stop Company B from selling them as long as they pay you the same amount for each one as Company A.

    Thirdly, separate the financing, recording and distribution operations. Money would be lent by banks (or bank-like institutions) employing staff with a sense of what kind of music is likely to sell. The recording studio's raw material is a band and the finished product is a master recording. The distribution company's raw material is a master recording and the finished product is a shop shelf full of CDs or a website full of downloadable files. You pay them a certain amount up front to press the discs or host the files, then you receive a portion of the proceeds from each sale.

    Now suppose an up-and-coming artist wants to record an album. They create a demo (which is copyrighted) and seek to borrow money, secured against the copyright in the songs, to finance recording a "proper" album. The lender naturally gets to dictate some of the terms (as is already the case with property) in order to ensure that the money will generate a return; and if the artist defaults severely on their repayments, then the rights in the work pass to the lender just like a home or business premises being repossessed.

    Having borrowed this money, our artist then uses it to pay for instruments, session musicians, studio time, producers, mastering services -- and an initial pressing* which will be sufficient to repay the loan once it is sold. The copyright documents and master recording are retained by the lender, and are only released to the artist when (and if) the loan is repaid in full.

    Once the loan has been paid off (from CD sales / downloads, and perhaps even ahead of schedule if the artist has been gigging like mad in the meantime and not overdoing the chemicals), all rights revert to the artist; who is then at liberty to pay for another pressing with any distribution company, not necessarily the one recommended by the lender.

    There is still room for money to be made at every stage of the process, but artists would not be tied to big labels as they are today. It's likely that there would continue to be "package deals" where one company handles everything on the artist's behalf (and swallows it if they bomb); but seasoned performers with a bit of cash under their belt already would be more likely to approach the recording studios and distributors directly. Some of the "finance companies" might just be collectives of artists forming something akin to the original 19th century idea of a building society. And the possibility of different companies competing to distribute the same artist's works is a very interesting one.

    * Terminology for convenience. I'm talking as if the product was a physical CD, but obviously it's possible that it could be made available for download. Or any combination. It's the lender's choice; all they want is to get their money back as quickly as possible, but not so quickly that they lose out on interest payments.

  17. Paul

    The Third Biggest Music Store in USA

    Surely you want them to sell your music! Isn't that how artists make their money? If I was an artist I wouldn't mind my music being sold by the third biggest music store in the states. Maybe the lawsuits generate a bigger revenue and more publicity. Do we like these kind of artists?

  18. Chickety China

    Eminem is a douchebag

    You'ld think he would be happy and thankful for all the press he got on the iPod commercials. It just goes to show you that you can dress up a turd and it still stinks. Maybe K Fed and him can team up and for the next great white rap duo: "White Trailer Trash MC's"

  19. Matthew Sinclair

    Huh?

    I don't see the musician throwing a fit.

    Why is it just the publisher?

    (hears a crying baby)

    (shoves pacifier in its face)

    : O P

  20. A. Merkin

    Too Rational

    Stop making sense! You are all too rational. Think of it from the cartel's perspective... As long as there is more money to be made by limiting competition, massive resources will be spent on the 3 Ls (lawsuits, lobbying and legistlation) to maintain the status quo.

    These corporations are not operating in the public interest. Their motiviation is to maximize profit with minimal effort (higher prices, fewer copies), not maximizing profit *while* maximizing utility (Lower prices, MORE copies).

    You can't fight the 3Ls because they are leverage *your* tax dollars. (Lobyists spend a comparatively tiny amount of money to determine how the much larger pool of public money is actually spent).

    My advice is to go see live acts at your local bar/pub and buy CDs directly from the artists whenever possible (100% vs .01% compensation to the artist).

    Let's all listen to different stuff and at least spread our discretionary money around a little more equitably.

    /rant

  21. Harry Percival

    to aj stiles

    simpler suggestion for how to run the music industry:

    all recorded music becomes free. the only way artists make any money is thru live performances. at least you can control access to them. (has the "exclusive" property of an economic good, which recorded media, thanks to the overwhelming ease of piracy, no longer has). prince seems to figured this out.

    maybe concert prices will have to go up, but at least we're saving money on cds.

    at some point ISP's are going to have to move to a 'per gig downloaded' charging model tho...

    thinking as I type, the logic for films works (just about) too - i'd still pay to go see something in a cinema, cos even if i have a projector and a surround sound system at home, my screen isn't FRIKKIN 60-FEET WIDE and my soundsystem isn't as loud as the apocaplypse. bloody neighbours.

    i guess video game makers are screwed tho...

  22. Chris

    You've never bought the music

    Here's a very simple fact that cannot be argued:

    You never bought any music on CD. You never bought any music via any download service.

    You can argue the semantics of it all you want, bu the simple fact is, you never bought the music. You have ALWAYS licensed the music, whether it was on vinyl, eight-track, cassette, MD, CD, DVD, digital download, or whatever. The "purchase" has always been the purchase of a physical medium, on which was contained a licensed audio recording. That copyright notice tells you that you didn't buy the music, that you only licensed it.

    With physical "sales", the publishers got less because (in theory) the record labels spent more money getting the music out there (mastering'pressing the CDs, distribution, etc). With digital "sales", the record labels don't have any costs. There is no physical product. All of the distribution cost (the bandwidth consumed by the downloads) are borne by the music service (iTunes, in this case).

    Digital downloads are nothing more than a license for on-demand playback of audio recordings

  23. Mike VandeVelde

    @Harry Percival

    Yes music becomes free. Recorded media still costs, there aren't any blank CD trees, still need to pay for an actual CD. A download doesn't cost anything though. Once you have a digital file, you can make infinity copies.

    For films - I really think we'll go back to stage acting. Singers get paid for singing, actors get paid for acting. A movie is really just a recording of a performance. You'd still pay to go to the cinema with their gear, but the recording is free so why would the cinema pay the actor? That actor will have to keep acting.

    Video game makers will have to be the experts at their video game and keep putting out new maps & characters & story lines & whatnot content. Better ones than the competition can come up with. Video game makers get paid for making video games, if they want to keep getting paid then they have to keep making video games.

    Nobody should be able to do something once and then get paid every time anyone else becomes aware of it in any way. That's just stoopid.

  24. Nordrick Framelhammer

    Two faced hypocrite

    The c-rap performer mentioned in the article is nothing more than a two faced hypocrite. He quite happily "samples" other people works, meaning he steals other people work to put it his homophobic, mysoginistic, vile, intellectually bereft verbal effluent but then gets his thong in a bunch when someone does the same to him.

  25. Rick Damiani

    Having it both ways?

    Love Eminem or hate him, he has a point. If what I purchase at iTunes is a single-user license that I can't sell or give away, why does his label pay him the lower rate associated with physical objects? i.e. End users get all the usage limits of 'licensing' while the artist gets the income limits of 'sales'. Why is that fair?

    When the labels are actually manufacturing things, they are taking a sizable risk. Make too many, and you've got millions of objects out there taking up space that need to be moved hither and yon. Don't make enough and folks will loose interest before you can get more of them made and shipped. The artists involved don't share that risk, which is why the labels haven't given them much of the profit in the past.

    With downloads, that's all different. The label produces one perfect digital file and sends it to Apple (or whoever) to make copies as needed. No manufacturing risks at all. The label is still spending on advertising and such, and should get a fair return on that, but the return should not be the same as the return for dealing with a physical product becasue the risks aren't the same as dealing with a physical object.

    If an artist has different terms for 'license' and 'sale', then iTunes 'sales' ought to be conducted under those 'license' terms. Because that's what it is.

  26. A. Merkin

    @Mike VandeVelde

    CD tree CDs aren't free either; first you've got to buy the CD seeds, then spend time and money on fertilizer, weeding, pruning, etc until harvest time. Also, don't forget the opportunity cost of not planting a DVD or BlueRay tree in the same plot...

    Also, I've tried making infinty copies of a digital file, and to date I haven't been successful.

    ;)

    Seriously though, good point about a performance vs a recording of a performance. It's like the difference between an original painting sold for 100,000 Ningy and a reproduction print for 1 Trigantic Pu.

    However, I do think artists should be compensated for *every* reproduction of a performance though. That way, more usage = more reward. The problem today is that the GATEKEEPERS are sucking up all the cash, even at a time when distribution costs have been dramatically reduced.

    For downloads, if the distributor's fees were reduced to real costs + 10%, and artist's royalties were increased 10-fold, you'd probably be looking at less than $0.20 / 0.10 BP per track.

    For "Everything on Demand" at a cost of $0.0083 'per play', you could listen to 10 hours of music a day for $1 ($30 / Month).

    Compbine the two, and a subscription service for $30 a month could allow you to stream up to 10 hours a day and/or download 150 tracks per month.

    You can even throw out the DRM, cuase if it's cheap enough and easy enough, it will outweigh the opportunity cost of TIME SPENT on piracy.

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