Eminem Loses iTunes Royalties Case Against Universal

Eminem Loses iTunes Royalties Case Against Universal
Eminem's publishing company has lost its $1.47 million lawsuit against music giant Universal Music Group over digital royalties from iTunes and ringtones.

On Friday (March 6), a jury in Los Angeles rejected FBT Productions' argument that Eminem's digital sales constituted a part of a licensing deal and therefore entitled him and the company to half the royalties Universal receives from downloads. Instead, the company that first signed Eminem will only get roughly 30-percent of the royalties from digital sales, as is typically the case with a distribution deal.

"It's a big disappointment," Joel Martin, the head of Eminem's publishing company, told Bloomberg.

As previously reported, a verdict in favour of Eminem's publishers could have served as a benchmark case that would have changed the very definition of what's meant by the term "digital royalties" and may have forced labels to pay billions of dollars in additional royalties to artists. It also could have fortified the efforts of artists such as Kid Rock and the owners of the Beatles catalogue, who have refused to sell recordings through digital retailers like iTunes because they receive so little of the royalties, Martin told Bloomberg.

On a separate claim, the jury awarded FBT $159,000 for what it ruled was a misallocation of royalties between Universal and Eminem.

Martin said he planned to speak with Eminem, who was not directly involved in the suit, when he arrived back to Detroit and that he would likely appeal the court's decision.