Eminem Lawsuit Could Change How Digital Revenues Get Shared With Artists

In Music Law by FASHIONENTLAW™

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A must read for music industry professionals, especially artists.

“Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has declined to take the case, it looks like an appeals court win for rapper Eminem is going to stand. The court in this case said that downloads, such as those from iTunes, are music “licenses,” not sales. That made a big difference to Eminem because his 1995 contract entitles him to a full 50% of license revenue, but only 12% to 20% of sales; and many other artists signed before the year 2000 are in the same boat, the NYT reports. It’s an interesting case in part because it shows that the fast-evolving law around digital downloads has caught the music industry asking for different treatment in different situations.

The legal distinction between whether digital content is a “sale” or a “license” is hard to understate. Last year, in Vernor v. Autodesk, the same appeals court that considered the Eminem case found that software sales weren’t really sales at all; they were actually a license.

The entertainment industry cheered that ruling. Digital content means that essentially everything is being turned into “software,” so the ruling makes it much more likely that copyright owners will be able to maintain control of digital content even after they sell it. That would allow them to prevent re-sale and impose other restrictions on how the content is used—restrictions that they would almost certainly not be allowed to impose on physical objects.

UMG likes the idea of “licensing” its music so much that it even tried to have a court rule that physical promo CD’s were being “licensed” rather than given away. (It lost that case in January. . .” Full Story on Paid content.org.

Photocredit: Star Pulse

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WHAT IS Fashionentlaw™: It is a law blog discussing hot topics in pop culture that arise primarily out of the fashion industry and intersects/ collides with the law. WHAT I DO: My name is Uduak Oduok and I am a California licensed attorney who helps creatives and business owners sleep better at night by protecting their creativity and reputation, securing their rights, and helping them with the monetization of their intellectual assets. WHO I WORK WITH: I have counseled a range of clients from musicians, models, actors, actresses, and designers, to diverse business owners in numerous areas of the law including contracts, business law, fashion and entertainment law, copyright, trademark, and intellectual property law. I bring over two decades of first-hand knowledge and experiences that are as diverse as they are deep in the fashion and entertainment industries (modeling, retail, production, public relations, journalism, and publishing). I am an attorney who “gets it” when it comes to resolving legal issues for the fashion and entertainment industries. INTERESTED IN TALKING TO ME ABOUT LEGAL REPRESENTATION? To arrange a consultation to discuss your case, contact me today at 916-361-6506 or email me directly at (uduak@ebitulawgrp.com). Full bio: Ms. Uduak Bio/ Twitter @uduaklaw

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