Eminem suing Apple Computer; claims song used in ad without permission

“Rapper Eminem’s music publisher is suing Apple Computer Inc., claiming the company used one of the hip-hop superstar’s songs in a television advertisement without permission. Eight Mile Style filed the copyright infringement suit late last week against Apple, Viacom Inc., its MTV subsidiary and the TBWA/Chiat/Day advertising agency,” The Associated Press reports.

“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. ‘Eminem has never nationally endorsed any commercial products and … even if he were interested in endorsing a product, any endorsement deal would require a significant amount of money, possibly in excess of $10 million,’ according to the 15-page lawsuit filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Detroit,” AP reports.

“The suit claims that Apple Computer CEO Steve Jobs personally called Joel Martin, manager of Eight Mile Style, and asked Martin and Eminem to ‘rethink their position’ about using the Grammy-winning song. Eminem responded by ending discussions with Apple,” AP reports.

Full article here.

86 Comments

  1. I wonder if Shady / Aftermath Records (the label Eminem owns) asked Apple for permission to show an iPod in 50 Cent’s “P.I.M.P.” music video. If not, that’s plenty of ground for a counter-suit, no?

  2. Anyone remember the commercial? I surely don’t and I am a hip-hop fan. But nonetheless, if Apple did not get permission they should have to pay royalties. Plain and simple. Isn’t this one of the pillars of iTunes’ success, being legal?

    Just give Eminem a G5 with Garageband on it, he’ll be happy.

  3. Ohh, that poor little boy. Did someone step on his toes now. I really thought he was tougher than that. But I guess attitude isn’t everything.
    Legally though, Apple should have had their act together.
    That’s my 2 bits worth.

  4. gzero, no Apple has not right to counter sue Shady / Aftermath as long as there is no logo display and Shady / Aftermath entered into no legal obligation with Apple.

    JadisOne, the commercial they are referring to aired months ago where a young ~9 year old is listening to his iPod while singing the current playing song accapella, “I’m slim shady, yes I’m the real shady…with the real slim shady please stand up, please stand up.” He is backed by a simple white background.

  5. “I wonder if Shady / Aftermath Records (the label Eminem owns) asked Apple for permission to show an iPod in 50 Cent’s “P.I.M.P.” music video. If not, that’s plenty of ground for a counter-suit, no?”

    No. It’s not. In many cases people ask manufacturers for money to feature their products. But manufacturers don’t have the same rights as artists when it comes to displaying a product vs. using someone’s intellectual property commercially.

    My guess is that, at worst, it’s probably a contract dispute rather than Apple just acting unilaterally. Apple is probably going to claim that their use of the song is allowed because it’s promoting the catalog it’s contained in. There’s probably some standard clause about promotional use in the contract that allows Apple to sell his music that emmie didn’t properly consider when the deal was worked out.

  6. rockjohnson:

    Apple’s patent on the iPod design is just as valid as Eminem’s copyright of “Lose Yourself” (which is the song in the commercial) AFAIK, so I would assume that there would be ground if there was no agreement.

    Whatever the case, it just seems a little petty to me, from Eminem’s side.

  7. If I remeber the commercial, the boy used his own voice to Rap the song. There was no background music or anything. Just the kid rapping.

    Maybe that was how Apple got around that.

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