Trial began Tuesday on a two-year-old lawsuit filed by Eminem’s music publishing company against his record label, accusing the label, Aftermath Records owned by Universal Music Group, of withholding $1.3 million from sales of his music as digital downloads and ringtones, The Wrap reports.
Em’s company, F.B.T. Productions, believes Eminem is owed royalties on sales of the rapper’s songs via iTunes and other digital outlets, arguing that making his music available for download is a licensing agreement and as such, he should be entitled to the same 50-per cent-of-net-receipts royalties he gets from sales of records and CDs. However, if the court rules that making Em’s music available for download is a distribution deal, as Universal Music Group claims, that would mean he’s entitled to a smaller portion of the revenues from each sale, or the amount he currently receives.
The case is significant not only because it involves a successful rapper suing the world’s biggest music label, but it is also the first attempt by an artist to try to legally extract more royalties from digital downloads. Artists and record labels have recently butted heads on how much they’re entitled to in terms of digital royalties.
Interscope Records head, Jimmy Iovine, who oversees Aftermath Records is slated to testify as is Steve Jobs, via video.