updated 05:35 pm EDT, Mon August 20, 2007
Eminem lawsuit might flop
Recording artist Eminem would be unwise to pursue his lawsuit against Apple, according a several prominent copyright lawyers. Attorneys say Eminem's lawsuit, among other similar suits, is unlikely to proceed very far, but the real goal of the litigation is to challenge the claim by record labels that they have the right to negotiate Internet sales on their behalf. "This particular issue is a real sore spot in the industry," Jay Rosenthal, legal counsel for the Recording Artists' Coalition told ZDNet. "It's the gorilla in the room, and you're going to start seeing more of these suits as you start to see layoffs and cutbacks."
At issue is the revenue that artists derive from digital downloads -- a cut many say is unfair in the wake of declining CD sales. Artists receive about 16 cents per album sold at retail outlets, while the music publisher gets 9.1 cents. Lawsuits allege that artists receive about 4.5 cents on every 99-cent digital download.
According to the Recording Industry Association of America, unit sales and revenue from CD sales declined more than 12 percent in 2006. In 2005, they fell 8 percent. Apple's persistence with a 99 cent per song model may put it in the cross-hairs as this issue is played out through the courts, since most record companies, and in turn artists, want to see more flexibility in track pricing, with newer more popular releases fetching a higher cost than older titles in less demand.
Among the others artists who have expressed discontent over their cut of download revenues are Cheap Trick and The Allman Brothers Band, who jointly filed a lawsuit last year that accused Sony BMG Music Entertainment of shortchanging them.