The publisher of Eminem’s music has filed a federal lawsuit against computer giant Apple Inc. for selling downloads of his songs without permission.
Apple has an agreement with Universal Music Group, the record company that owns the recordings, but doesn’t deal directly with publishers, who own the rights to scores and lyrics.
In the lawsuit filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Detroit, the rapper’s music publisher, Eight Mile Style, and copyright manager Martin Affiliated seek more than $75,000 for copyright infringement, unfair competition and a violation of the Michigan consumer protection act.
The lawsuit also asks for damages of up to $150,000 per infringement _ or each time a song is downloaded
Eight Mile Style administrator Joel Martin says the lawsuit involves 70 to 80 songs, including tracks from the Grammy Award-winning “The Eminem Show.”
Apple had no comment Tuesday, spokesman Tom Neumayr said.
Eight Mile Style attorney Norman Ankers contends that record companies need permission from copyright holders before downloads can be authorized.
“This is a significant issue in the music industry,” Ankers said. “This occurs with many artists and many record labels.”
Apple charges 99 cents for most song downloads. Recording companies get about 70 cents of that, and pass on 9 cents of that fee to publishers.
“Generally, artists want their music sold,” Martin said. “We want it downloaded. We request that any provider that’s offering downloads license it through the publisher.”
“Apple is not accounting to us. They are accounting to Universal (Music),” he said.
Eminem, whose real name is Marshall Bruce Mathers III, is from Detroit. “The Eminem Show” sold 7.6 million copies.
Eight Mile Style also sued Apple in 2004 for copyright infringement. That lawsuit alleged that Apple used Eminem’s “Lose Your-self” in commercial TV ads for its iTunes music store. The case was settled out of court.