Washington – The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to review
an earlier ruling that found that producers of rapper Eminem’s early recordings
were owed a greater share of royalties from digital sales of his songs and
ringtones. The case centered on whether a digital song should be considered a
physical product, like a CD, or treated as a "license" to a
third-party distributor like the iTunes Store.
Under their original deal with
Universal Music Group’s Aftermath Records, FBT Productions and Em2M had been receiving 12%-20% of digital
sales, the same cut as they did from sales of CDs — but argued they were actually due a 50-50 split, since the
songs in question were being "licensed" to the iTunes Store.
While a lower court
sided with Universal/Aftermath, the 9th Circuit reversed this ruling and found
FBT and Em2M were due additional royalty payments.
The Supreme Court’s implicit
affirmation of the 9th Circuit’s ruling "could benefit older artists who
have been getting a fraction of download income based on contracts they entered
long before current technology," Courthouse News Service noted.
(Courthouse News Service)
(DMW previous coverage)