The trial between rapper Eminem - or more specifically the publishing company Eight Mile Style, which owns the rights to Eminem's recordings - and Apple began Thursday, according to a Yahoo! report. The rapper's publishing arm sued Apple in July of 2007 accusing the company of copyright infringement by selling 93 of Eminem's songs on iTunes.
Apple has claimed a contract with another Aftermath Records gives them the rights to sell those songs, while Eight Mile Style said the licensing deal with Aftermath Records does not include digital distribution rights. In other words, Eight Mile Style is attempting to assert a difference between a record/CD deal and the rights to distribute music in other formats and models.
For its part, Glenn Pomerantz, an attorney representing Apple in the case, is arguing that the deal with Aftermath Records is an issue of "common sense," according to Yahoo!'s coverage. In his opening statement in the trial Thursday, he said, "Nowhere [in the contract between Aftermath Records and Eight Mile Style] does it say only compact discs. Nowhere does it say ... not digital downloads."
In the meanwhile, Apple has been paying Aftermath Records US$.70 per download - the same as most of Apple's other iTunes contracts - of which Eight Mile Style receives $.091. According to trial proceedings, Eight Mile Style has cashed its royalty checks, but is, effectively, suing for the rest of the income generated from the sale of its Eminem songs.
Mr. Pomerantz comments, "[Eight Mile Style] has been paid a lot of money. We don't begrudge them that, but they're not entitled to that money and Apple's profits." [Emphasis added by The Mac Observer.]
Richard Busch, the attorney representing Eight Mile Style said, "The publisher owns these compositions, not Aftermath. ... If Eight Mile had a direct licensing relationship with Apple, this kind of nonsense would not happen."
From the get-go, Apple has negotiated only with record labels and firms that act as record labels such as TuneCore, CD Baby, and a host of others that have sprung up to act as a bridge between bands and digital distribution outlets like iTunes, Amazon.com, Napster, and others.