Eminem’s publisher sues Spotify for copyright infringement

Eminem's music editor, Eight Mile Style, filed a lawsuit against Spotify, alleging copyright infringement. The lawsuit claims that the steam platform did not obtain the appropriate licenses for rapper's music and wants Spotify to compensate the publisher for billions of transmissions.

There are two tips on the suit, which was first reported today by The Hollywood Reporter . Spotify is accused of deliberately ignoring the ownership of Eight Mile Style from the Eminem catalog when deciding how to pay streaming revenue for its reproduction metrics. Spotify also allegedly violated sections of the Music Modernization Act (MMA), which was passed last October and is designed to help simplify the process by which artists, composers, producers and rights holders charge for the broadcasts of online music.

According to the complaint, one of the central disputes is about how Spotify treated massive successes like Eminem's "Lose Yourself." Eight Mile Style claims that the streaming service labeled the song and others as "Copyright Control", or a song with unknown rights holders. Similarly, the complaint alleges that Spotify did not perform the appropriate process to obtain a license for "Lose Yourself" and other songs, nor to determine who owned the licenses. "Lose Yourself" was written for a movie starring Eminem, a movie with the same name as the publisher itself! – who won an Oscar in the Best Original Song category.

Instead, Spotify kept Eminem's music on the platform, where the artist has accumulated more than 32 million monthly listeners. Some of his songs have been broadcast hundreds of millions of times. Eight Mile Style accuses Spotify of hosting Eminem's music, but does not pay the corresponding royalties, despite knowing very well who the owner is. "Spotify has not accounted for Eight Mile or paid Eight Mile for these transmissions, but has sent random payments of some kind, which are only intended to represent a fraction of those transmissions," the complaint reads. Spotify did not respond to a request for comments.

According to Eminem's publicist, Dennis Dennehy, the artist is not part of the lawsuit, since Eight Mile Style is owned by the same group that owns the music publishing house FBP Publishing, and signed Eminem for its first production contract and publication. As a result, Eight Mile Style owns the previous part of its catalog. Dennehy tells The Verge that Eminem and his team were "as surprised as anyone else by this news."

Richard Busch represents Eight Mile Style in the lawsuit; THR reports that Busch is a legal heavyweight that is behind multiple cases that set precedents in the publication of music and copyright. That includes Marvin Gaye's successful lawsuit against "Blurred Lines" songwriters Robin Thicke, Pharrell Williams and T.I. Busch also represented Eight Mile Style in a historic 2010 lawsuit against Apple and Universal Music Group. That demand, although resolved, allegedly resulted in favorable changes for artists and labels in the way digital downloads translated into physical sales. That in turn transformed the way royalties were paid when iTunes dominated the music industry, reports THR .

Eight Mile Style seeks damages that could, in the end, reach billions of dollars. Spotify, which was made public last year, is now valued at $ 26 billion. Eight Mile Style is also seeking legal damages per song, with a total of 243 works in question. That could result in Spotify paying tens of millions, although if Eight Mile Style manages to disqualify Spotify from protection under the MMA, it could face more severe financial penalties.

Update August 21, 8:18 PM ET: Details on Eminem's relationship with Eight Mile Style and the fact that he is not a party to the lawsuit were included.

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