Legal Drama

MUST READ: Universal Music Group Settles Trendsetting Lawsuit Over Digital Revenue from Eminem Songs

AML music community, book mark and read this article from Eriq Gardner of THR, Esq. It’s a must.

“Digital income. It’s a topic that continues to cause fits in the music industry, and if there’s one big moment when record companies probably realized that a new day had dawned in their business, it was September 3, 2010, the day the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals handed down a huge decision in a path-breaking case involving the music of hip-hop superstar Eminem.

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Two years after that appellate ruling, many other musicians have since brought claims over digital income.

Now, the case has settled. On Monday, FBT Productions and Universal Music Group informed a California federal court a resolution had been reached, putting to rest a dispute that has been closely followed throughout the industry.
If the birth of Napster pointed to change in the way songs would be distributed online, and if the rise of iTunes signaled that money could still be made in the selling of music, it was the 2010 appellate ruling in FBT Productions v. Aftermath that offered the fearsome prospect for many record labels that artists would soon be entitled to a much larger share of revenue generated by the exploitation of sound recordings.

The case pitted Eminem’s production team of Mark and Jeff Bass against Eminem’s record label.

Originally filed in 2007, a jury verdict two years later was a defeat for the plaintiffs, but then the case went on appeal.

At the 9th Circuit, the judges ruled that a lower court had erred by not deeming the label’s agreements with third-parties download providers as licenses instead of sales. For the music industry, the difference was enormous. Under typical licensing or leasing provisions of artist-label contracts, about 50 percent of collected revenue gets handed over to artists. Under sales provisions, it’s usually not more than 15 percent. . .”

THR, Esq. has the full story.

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Credited for several firsts in the fashion and entertainment industry, Uduak Oduok (Ms. Uduak) is a fashion and entertainment lawyer, speaker, visionary, gamechanger, trailblazer, and recognized thought leader, for her work on Africa’s emerging global fashion and entertainment markets, and the niche practice of fashion law in the United States. She is also the founder of ‘Africa Music Law,’ an industry go-to music business and law blog and podcast show empowering African artists. Her work in the creative and legal industries has earned her numerous awards and recognitions, including an award from the American University Washington College of Law for her “legal impact in the field of intellectual property in Africa." She has also taught as an Adjunct Professor at several institutions in the United States. For more information, visit her at

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