Rap singer Eminem has accused Apple of copyright infringement in a multimillion-dollar lawsuit, according to a story in The Detroit News.
Eminem's music publishers have not given Apple permission to offer the artist's music for download, according to the report in Tuesday's paper, although Eminem's music is available through the Apple's iTunes Store.
Apple pays a portion of the revenue it collects from Eminem downloads to Universal Music Group, which distributes the music, but not to Eminem's publishers, the News reported. Eight Mile Style and Martin Affiliated, the companies representing Eminem, demand that Apple stop offering downloads.
The newspaper suggested that the problem is caused by the confusion over who owns the rights to downloads. Apparently, Eminem is asserting that record companies do not hold these rights exclusively.
Eminem has tangled in court with Apple before. Eight Mile Style and Martin Affiliated sued Apple in 2004 over the rapper's song "Lose Yourself," which Apple used in a TV commercial. The case was settled out of court.
Owen Sloane of Berger Kahn, an entertainment lawyer who has represented such artists as Steve Winwood, Barry Manilow and Stevie Nicks, said that he expects more entertainers will go to court to demand a larger slice of the digital pie. Music publishers have also expressed dissatisfaction at the way music royalties are distributed.
"All the publishers are rankled that they have to go after the record labels to collect their fees," Sloan said. "Sometimes these fees may not be accounted for properly. The publishers would prefer to collect directly from the source instead of the labels."
Apple did not respond to an interview request.