Apple Inc. and Eminem’s music publisher, Eight Mile Style LLC, have failed to settle a dispute over 93 songs on iTunes, clearing the way for a trial in the rapper’s hometown of Detroit.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Virginia Morgan was overseeing private settlement talks Wednesday. Eight Mile Style LLC lawyer Howard Hertz says no deal was reached in the lawsuit.
Eight Mile says it never authorized the 93 songs in a downloadable format on Apple’s popular iTunes service. The publisher alleges copyright infringement, AP reported.
The lawsuit also seeks a cut of $16 million in iPod sales profits it alleges could be attributed to the 93 tracks. Eight Mile is also seeking $4.03 million from Aftermath Entertainment. Eight Mile agreed in 1998 and 2003 that “Eminem would create master sound recordings embodying compositions, and that Aftermath would own those masters.
According to Reuters, the matter will head to trial this week if the parties involved are not able to reach a last-minute deal. Eminem and Eight Mile Style allege that Apple is providing downloads of the artist’s song through iTunes without proper permission. Apple, along with Aftermath Records, contends that not only is their arrangement legal, but the publisher has received royalties for the sale of songs on the iTunes Music Store.
A conference with Judge Virginia Morgan is scheduled for Wednesday with the involved parties in Ann Arbor, Mich.
Under most contracts with their labels, artists receive around 20 cents — or less than 30 percent — of the approximate 70 cents Apple pays labels for the sale of each 99 cent song sold, under the assumption that such sales are part of a distribution deal. But Eminem’s attorneys have argued that since digital sales differ from traditional record store sales. They say the music content has long been licensed with restrictions, and artists should see a 50-50 split, or about 35 cents a song, per their existing agreements.
In addition, Eight Mile Style alleges that Aftermath collected $4 million from Eminem’s music sales in partnership with Apple. Although Aftermath and Apple refute the accusations, showing court documents that suggest Aftermath owns the exclusive rights to Eminem’s master compositions, the publishing company believes it actually owns the rights to Em’s music.