Published Aug 22, 2019Eminem's publishing company Eight Mile Style is suing Spotify, alleging that the streaming service has infringed on hundreds of song copyrights while also challenging the recently passed Music Modernization Act (MMA).
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the suit accuses Spotify of streaming 250 songs from Eminem's catalogue billions of times without a licence.
"Spotify has not accounted to Eight Mile or paid Eight Mile for these streams but instead remitted random payments of some sort, which only purport to account for a fraction of those streams," the suit reads.
The lawsuit adds that Spotify allegedly placed the rapper's iconic "Lose Yourself" into a category called "Copyright Control," a category for songs for which the owner is unknown. Eight Mile calls it "absurd" that the streaming giant would be unable to locate the copyright owner of "one of the most well-known songs in history."
"Spotify did not have any licence to reproduce or distribute the Eight Mile Compositions, either direct, affiliate, or compulsory, but acted deceptively by pretending to have compulsory and/or other licences," the lawsuit claims. "In addition, Spotify instructed the Harry Fox Agency to send purported 'royalty statements' out, when Spotify and HFA knew the compositions were not licensed via the compulsory license, or otherwise, to further lead Eight Mile and others into believing the songs were licensed and Eight Mile was being paid properly. In fact, neither was true."
Eight Mile's suit also contests the constitutionality of the MMA, which was signed into law by president Trump last October to update copyright protections for artists and songwriters in the era of streaming.
The publishing company says Spotify "knew what they were doing" in the "unconstitutional taking of Eight Mile's and others vested property right was not for public use but instead for the private gain of private companies."
The suit continues: "In addition as pleaded further below, even after the enactment of the Music Modernization Act of 2018, Spotify did not comply with its requirements, and does not therefore enjoy the limitations of liability under the MMA. Even if it had, as also discussed below, the MMA's retroactive elimination of the right of a plaintiff to receive profits attributable to infringement, statutory damages, and attorneys' fees, is an unconstitutional denial of due process (both procedural and substantive), and an unconstitutional taking of vested property rights."
Addressing what it consider to be other weaknesses in the act, Eight Mile's suit reads in part, "First, by its terms, the MMA liability limitation section only applies to compositions for which the copyright owner was not known, and to previously unmatched works (compositions not previously matched with sound recordings), and not to 'matched' works for which the DMP [Digital Music Provider] knew who the copyright owner was and just committed copyright infringement."
It adds that Spotify "did not engage in the required commercially reasonable efforts to match sound recordings with the Eight Mile Compositions as required by the MMA."
THR reports that Eight Mile seeks Spotify's substantial profits and damages for alleged copyright infringement. The streaming service has yet to publicly comment on the lawsuit.