Eminem’s music publishers are suing Spotify in a copyright lawsuit potentially worth billions of dollars in alleged damages.
Bosses at Eight Mile Style, the firm that owns the rights to the early part of the rapper’s back catalogue, filed a lawsuit in federal court in Nashville, Tennessee, on Wednesday, reported editors at The Hollywood Reporter.
In the lawsuit, they allege streaming service chiefs wilfully ignored Eight Mile Style’s ownership of around 250 Eminem songs when deciding how to pay out streaming revenue, and violated sections of America’s recently passed Music Modernization Act (MMA), which streamlined the process of paying out streaming royalties.
They claim Spotify executives treated massive hits like Eminem’s Oscar-winning 2002 track Lose Yourself as a song with unknown rights holders and did not go through the proper process to obtain a licence for the music.
Eminem is not an owner of Eight Mile Style, and his representative Dennis Dennehy told The Verge website he had no idea his music was at the centre of what could be a landmark copyright case, saying Eminem and his team were, “just as surprised as anyone else by this news.”
Eight Mile is being represented by Richard Busch, a Nashville attorney who represented Eight Mile Style in a landmark 2010 lawsuit against Apple and Universal Music Group that transformed the way artists and rights holders were paid for digital downloads. He also represented Marvin Gaye’s heirs in their successful $5 million (£3.9 million) lawsuit against Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams over their song Blurred Lines.
Representatives of Spotify did not respond to a request for comment.