Eminem and Apple Head to Court Over iTunes Distribution

The Detroit News reports that lawyers for Apple and Eight Mile Style, rapper Eminem's music publisher, headed to court this morning over a complaint filed by Eight Mile Style in 2007 regarding improper distribution of digital downloads. The complaint claims that Apple improperly offered nearly 100 of Eminem's songs for sale via the company's iTunes Store by making a deal for distribution with record label Aftermath Records, which Eight Mile Style claims did not hold the rights to digital distribution.

In his opening statement, Eight Mile attorney Richard Busch said unique wording in Eminem's contract with Aftermath Records requires the record company to get separate deals before it can sell downloads of Eminem's songs over the Internet.

The record company "knew that they did not have the right to make these songs available for digital download without a separate digital download agreement," Busch told U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor.

Apple's lawyers, on the other hand, contend that the company held a valid agreement with Aftermath Records for digital distribution.

The Detroit Free Press noted earlier today that Apple had been hoping to reach a settlement with Eight Mile Style regarding the issue, but talks between the two parties broke down yesterday evening. Eight Mile Style contends that Apple earned $2.58 million from the improper sales.

Eight Mile Style previously sued Apple for improper use of Eminem's hit single "Lose Yourself" in an iTunes Store television commercial. The dispute was settled out of court with undisclosed terms.

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