American rapper, Eminem’s music publisher is charging giant streaming company, Spotify to court.
According to legal documents obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, Eight Mile Style is charging the streaming giant for alleged copyright infringement for reproducing approximately 250 Eminem records on the platform without the required license. The suit claims that although Shady’s music has garnered billions of streams on the service, Spotify has failed to properly pay the publisher for the activity.
“Spotify has not accounted to Eight Mile or paid Eight Mile for these streams,” the suit revealed, “but instead remitted random payments of some sort, which only purport to account for a fraction of those streams.”
The plaintiff also stressed that Eminem’s hit song “Lose Yourself” was designated to the “Copyright Control” category, which is reserved for records with an unknown copyright owner. Under the 2018 Music Modernization Act, when a streaming service cannot immediately identify the owners of a song, it can obtain a compulsory license to host the recording; however, the company was still required to file a “notice of intention” and pay the rights-holders.
“Spotify did not have any license to reproduce or distribute the Eight Mile Compositions, either direct, affiliate, or compulsory, but acted deceptively by pretending to have compulsory and/or other licenses,” the lawsuit reads. “[…] On information and belief, Spotify also sent untimely and ineffective Notices of Intent to obtain Compulsory License (‘NOI’s’) to the United States Copyright Office, with respect to ‘Lose Yourself’ and potentially other Eight Mile Compositions, an indication, if not an outright admission, that the musical compositions were not licensed.”
The plaintiff said it is “absurd” that Spotify could not locate the owners of “Lose Yourself,” considering it was a No. 1, Oscar-winning track, as well as one of Eminem’s greatest hits.
“Spotify … certainly knew (and had the easy means to know) that Eight Mile is the copyright owner of ‘Lose Yourself,’ the suit further stated.
The lawsuit also examined the constitutionality of the MMA, specifically when it comes to protections provided to streaming services. Eight Mile argues that if the law limits Spotify’s liability then it’s essentially
“an unconstitutional denial of due process (both procedural and substantive), and an unconstitutional taking of vested property rights.”
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Eight Mile Style seeks damages that could amount to billions of dollars… and the report also revealed that Eminem is not a party to the lawsuit.