Apple and Eminem Go to Court Over Music Rights

Case to determine who owns rights to rapper’s music

Late last week, trial began in a Detroit courtroom to determine who owns the rights to Eminem’s songs in this age of digital download. Apple defended their use of 93 of the controversial rapper’s songs on iTunes during opening statements on Thursday, September 24 2009.

Eight Mile Style, publisher of all Eminem songs, and Martin Affiliated, an affiliate company, contend that their contract with Aftermath Records, who controls the recordings, did not entitle it to sign a deal with Apple.

The case not only involves the several million dollars earned from iTunes downloads, but, ultimately, asks who owns the creative rights. At the heart of the case is the question, what do contracts say about selling songs outside of traditional means?

Currently, Aftermath Records controls the recordings in order to sell the songs. The contract does not specifically restrict digital downloads. But, neither does it, specify its intentions to resell the rights for digital downloading.

Apple pays Aftermath 70 cents for each iTunes download. Eight Mile Style is paid by Aftermath, as the publisher, 9.1 cents per download.  

Some information for this report provided by AP.