October 10, 2019
Eminem’s publisher, Eight Mile Style (“Eight Mile”), has filed a copyright infringement lawsuit in federal court in Nashville against Spotify, alleging that it has received insufficient royalties for Eminem’s music, which has been streamed on Spotify more than a billion times. According to the lawsuit, Eight Mile has received “random payments” that only account for a fraction of the streams.
Eight Mile called it absurd that Spotify put Eminem’s hit “Lose Yourself” on the “Copyright Control” list (a list reserved for music for which copyright licenses cannot be obtained because the copyright owner is unknown). The 2002 hit has won 2 Grammys, an Academy Award, peaked at number 1 on the charts in more than 20 countries, and is one of the most popular songs of all time. Eight Mile asserts that streaming giant Spotify has built a multi-billion-dollar company, in part, by willfully committing copyright infringement.
Eight Mile is seeking substantial profits from Spotify, or, in the alternative, the maximum amount of statutory damages, being $150,000 per illegal download for a total of $36.45 million (or $150,000 for each of Eminem’s 243 songs). Eight Mile is also seeking a declaration that Spotify is not entitled to the Music Modernization Act’s (“MMA”) limited liability protection because Spotify did not comply with the Act. The MMA requires that services make “reasonable efforts” to identify and locate copyright owners.
Authors: Amanda Bertucci and Meg King