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Eminem’s Publisher Sues Apple Over Song:

At issue is an ad for Apple’s iTunes pay-per-download music software, in which a 10-year-old sings Eminem’s “Lose Yourself.” The suit claims the commercial aired on MTV beginning in July 2003 and ran numerous times for at least three months. It also appeared on Apple’s Web site.

Seems like another Grey Tuesday-ish issue of artist control. Eminem doesn’t want to look like a sellout to his fans, the Beatles probably don’t want their music reappropriated. What’s the difference?

Posted on - February 24, 2004 [at] 8:16 pm by Brad
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8 Comments on this post

thegreathal on Eminem vs. Apple vs. Grey Tuesday
February 24, 2004 at 8:39 pm

asshole. he used to be my favorite singer for a while when he was new…somehow, suing like this, churning out bad albums, becoming a ‘tough’ teen star….not really great anymore. actually, I think Eminem was my reason for losing faith in any sort of commercial music at all…stay indie, Brad! w00t

scottandrew on Eminem vs. Apple vs. Grey Tuesday
February 24, 2004 at 11:16 pm

The Grey Album is derivative art. The Apple ad is…an ad, with a clear commercial purpose.

I suppose one could argue that DJ Danger Mouse stands to profit from the Grey Album in notoriety and sales of his other records. Were those his intentions? Who knows. I personally think the Grey Album took way too much time and skill to put together (and is way too good) to be brushed aside as an ad to promote his other stuff.

But the Grey Album has value as a standalone piece of work, unlike the Apple ad. No one’s going to be offering DVD movies of the Apple ad on EBay.

Brad on Eminem vs. Apple vs. Grey Tuesday
February 25, 2004 at 12:40 am

I think the pressing 3,000 albums pretty much convinces me his intent was to profit.

I don’t know, the artistic value thing seems real subjective. Does “good art” get to break the law but “bad art” doesn’t? Who gets to decide which is which?

If the ad had been more interesting would it have been OK?

I’m glad Grey Tuesday’s over so I can stop being a stick in the mud about it.

ken on Eminem vs. Apple vs. Grey Tuesday
February 25, 2004 at 1:06 am

I’m a little confused about this particular lawsuit… the kid was singing the song, a capella, right? So, that would seem to me to be a cover of his song, which should be covered under the whole compulsory licensing bit. So the suit seems pointless. That was why the soundtrack to “I Am Sam” was all Beatles covers, instead of the original recordings – because it was immensely cheaper from a licensing standpoint, and nobody could say no.

Is it somehow different for advertisements?

blindmime on Eminem vs. Apple vs. Grey Tuesday
February 25, 2004 at 1:45 pm

It’s different for advertisements. A compulsory license is granted based on sales of recordings. You can cover a song that has been previously published and put it on an album without permission of the owner of the songwriting since there are laws granting you that right through a compulsory license. There is also the license to perform cover versions through a performance rights organization in places that have paid these organization for blanket rights, like BMI, etc. Whereas an advertisement license is worked up on a campaign under a separate negotiable contract since an advertisement implies a common intent between the advertiser and the artist and it’s a different kind of relationship. Using a song in an advertisement is different than singing the same song on, say, American Idol, for instance. The latter would fall under a compulsory license.

All Eminem and is publisher are saying is that they did not agree to be affiliated with the iPod in relation with his song and they want Apple to pay for its use and also to pay for any damage they think having his work affiliated with this product might have had.

It’s a valid suit. You might not want a particular company using one of your songs to pitch their product, for whatever reason. Even though the iPod is cool and I don’t think Eminem’s been damaged by his song being used to pitch it, you could argue that it does possibly damage the song’s future commercial exploitation which he and his publisher have a right to manage.

It was stupid of Apple not to clear licensing of the song if they didn’t. I find it hard to believe a corporation like Apple which has spent months and months dealing with licensing tracks for iTunes would overlook something like that. They wouldn’t want just anyone using their brand to promote another product, implying that it was a consentual kind of thing.

JB on Eminem vs. Apple vs. Grey Tuesday
February 25, 2004 at 7:42 pm

i’m sure Jobs and his account executive at Chiat/Day have had some words

Mike on Eminem vs. Apple vs. Grey Tuesday
March 6, 2004 at 5:07 am

I don’t understand your problem with the Grey Album. Jay-Z meant for his stuff to be sampled, that’s why he released vocals-only versions. Dangermouse put Beatles samples behind them. Is he ripping off the Beatles? I don’t think so — but if you believe sampling a riff or note here and there is theft, that’s a whole ‘nother debate and I surrender the floor to John Oswald who long ago made the arguments better than I ever could

Bob on Eminem vs. Apple vs. Grey Tuesday
March 8, 2004 at 10:16 am

If I play guitar on my record, and someone buys that record, and my perfomance shows up on that person’s record, and the record makes money, I am entitiled to my share of the profits.

Additionally, I should be able to refuse the other person the right to use my performance if I so choose.

If I write a song, and someone licenses it for their own interpretation of the song, then I AM recompensed for it. Just like Eminem.

I am pretty sure that Apple would have dotted their T’s and crossed their eyes on this, and that the court will find that they did…

The other thing is that the course of action traditionally would be a cease and desist prior to any lawsuit. That would be the civilzed thing to do. And perhaps it happened, cuz the kid was the first one of the original iPod ads to disappear… And now it’s all this.

I think Eminem is going to be left holding an empty bag on this one.

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