updated 12:55 pm EDT, Mon March 21, 2011
Supreme Court upholds Eminem case by abstention
The US Supreme Court on Monday declined to rule on a Universal Music Group appeal of Eminem's digital royalty win. Its gesture upheld a Uinth Circuit Court of Appeals decision that said Eminem's contract with FBT Productions entitled him to a 50 percent cut of any digital sales, including iTunes and Amazon MP3. Universal had argued that it could give him the same 12 percent as with CD sales.
The earlier verdict would require a $2.2 million payment along with any forward-looking royalties.
Eminem's deal could have major ramifications for how artists with at least pre-digital contracts are paid. Those with broad contracts that aren't limited to a physical format could end up collecting much more. Artists who signed with digital factored in aren't likely to get these breaks.
Apple, Amazon and other store operators aren't directly affected by the royalty dispute's outcome, but artists like Eminem may entice labels to charge the full $1.29 per song instead of 99 cents to make up for any loss in royalties. [image via Glen Jamn]