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DETROIT, Feb 24, 2004 (AP Online via COMTEX) -- Rapper Eminem's music publisher is suing Apple Computer Inc., claiming the company used one of the hip-hop superstar's songs in a television advertisement without permission. Full Story.

Thoughts? I never thought Apple would do such a thing like this and not actually ask for permission.
 

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Well, CNN's article makes it seem like Steve & Co. may have used the song without express permission:


...The suit claims that Apple Computer CEO Steve Jobs personally called Joel Martin, manager of Eight Mile Style, and asked Martin and Eminem to "rethink their position" about using the Grammy-winning song.

Eminem responded by ending discussions with Apple, according to the suit.
 

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I have a feeling Chiat/Day was working in a very grey area as far as Copyright infringment goes. The song wasn't used, just the lyrics. And I don't believe the use of the lyrics will fall under the fair use clause either... we'll have to wait and see.

Has anyone heard any updates on Apple Records (aka the Beatles) lawsuit against Apple?
 

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I would have thought the add was run by all the lawyers to be sure it was okay... seems kinda stupid that something like this would be missed, so maybe Manny's right. That the singing of the song is in a grey area...
 

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It's still copyright infringement -- it doesn't matter who sings the song. Apple still needed permission to use the work in the same way a recording artist would need permission to cover the work of another artist unless it was satirical (like Wierd Al -- i don't think he needed permission to create his parodies).
 

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This was taken from another website. I'm not sure how accurate it is
"Marshall Mathers -- better known to the world as Eminem -- is suing Apple over "alleged misuse" of one of his songs in an iTunes Music Store ad. The ad in question featured a ten year old singing the song "Lose Yourself," and ran for three months last summer on MTV. Interestingly, the song wasn't copyrighted until October 27, 2003, long after the ad was run on television."
 

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weird al does need permission to record his parodies.
he ran into a similar problem with coolio for his song "amish paradise" a few years back.
 

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In 1994, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that parodies can be a "fair use" of an original song, requiring no permission or royalties. One of the main points the Supreme Court made was that when a parodist significantly changes the words and meaning of an original song to spoof it, the parody becomes a new work -- even if it uses the music of the original. Now, that doesn't mean a person can come along and just change a word or two and call it a parody or a new song; the Supreme Court laid down some specific guidelines.
Even Weird Al’s website recognizes the legal rights of parodists to do parodies without permission. However, as an established superstar, he really doesn’t pose a threat to the artists he spoofs, so he still asks for permission anyway to maintain relationships he started before the 1994 2 Live Crew case, and also to ensure his share of the royalties as the lyricist Here’s a direct quote from Al’s website:

"Does Al get permission to do his parodies?"
"Al does get permission from the original writers of the songs that he parodies. While the law supports his ability to parody without permission, he feels it's important for him to maintain the relationships that he's built with artists and writers over the years. Plus, Al wants to make sure that he gets his songwriter credit (as writer of new lyrics) as well as his rightful share of the royalties."

For further information, you can also check out this article:

http://www.commlaw.com/pepper/Memos/Broadcast/memo-pardoy-031194.html
 

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Much Music had a special documentary on Wierd Al over Xmas and they talked about how fortunate he was to be able to get permission to do MJ's songs. However, the melodies in his songs were written by someone else, therefor would have to have them greatly altered as to not overstep that author's rights. Wierd Al was given full access to completely copy the music and lyrics in that instance.

As far as copyrighted dating goes (as far as the copyrighted notice for M&M's song)—it's irrelevant. The minute the lyrics and/or music was placed on paper/medium it is automatically copywritten material. The date they quote is a matter of official registering it which helps if the copyright is called into question of legal matters (like who wrote what, when). Some artists will send themselves a registered letter with their work sealed in the envelope to time-stamp it for proof. It's a less-costly way of copyrighting your work.
 

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It is actually an established corporate strategy to negotiate after the fact. If a company really wants to use a piece of music it may be advantageous to just use it and settle later - either in or out of court. If they ask first and are denied permission - well, then that puts them in an awkward spot. The other drawback (for them) is that negotiations can take time. Not asking permission puts them in the driving seat.
 

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It's difficult to say, exactly, what it's all about; none of the online or print media have given us enough information to even know what the issue really is.

Although Copyright is often though of as a single thing, it's really a whole collection of rights that initially belong collectively to the creator.

I could, for example, assign the rights to you to sing the song in public in Canada on Tuesdays, and keep all the other rights to myself or sell similar rights to 6 others for the other days of the week while still keeping all the other rights. I could sell the same rights to others, but for the USA. And so on.

It's clear that if they used the Eminem track (as in right off an Eminem CD) then it has to be cleared for copyright. Normatlly this would not be Apple's job, but whomever they hired to manage the ad program or whomever the managers hired to farm out the work.

What's not clear:
Whether Eminem actually owns the rights to his own music. Typically he doesn't, but who knows what deal he signed with his record company.

There seems to be some indications that it doesn't involve a track recorded and performed by Eminem. I haven't seen the ad so can't comment on that specifically, but if true then other copyright issues are involved, and probably have nothing to do with the aritst.

However I have heard that it involves someone listening to an iPod and singing the lyrics (ie we hear the actor singing but don't hear a single bar of Eminem). In this case, Eminem probaby has no rights to the song at all. Whomever he assigned publishing rights to is the owner (ie sheet music publisher). It is extremely rare for an artist to sign a recording contract without agreeing to give up the publishing and performing rights.

Usually the publishing and performing rights are assigned together, but there is nothing preventing them to be sold separately, so another party may have the performing rights, which are the specific rights involved in the ad.

Apparently there is a clause in US copyright law that absolves "Acapella" performances; either this means that there is no copyright infringement at all or that the issue resolves around another matter. Perhaps this exemption doesn't apply to commercial use, for example.

I have also heard that Eminem is objecting to "endorsing" the iPod with out his permission, and that that is the basis of the claim. What really happened is the aritst's name and song title were displayed in the ad. It's hard to say if simply stating the album details constitutes endorsement, but the courts will decide.

Songs are routinely cleared and either some junior employee of a non-Apple firm screwed up and didn't do it, didn't do it correctly, or they paid someone who claimed to but did not actually own the rights (this is quite common, by the way).

It's a minor thing that will be hashed out in the courts. If it weren't for Apple, the ITMS, and the iPod being newsworthy, it's such a common, mundane, everyday kind of contractual suit that wouldn't make the back pages of any newspaper or magazine.

Apple is named in the suit because it's standard operating procedure to do so; sue anyone remotely connected with the issue because the decision will apply to all named defendants equally. This insures that someone with the money to pay will be around to shell out the cash. The media has not provided us with the useful information as to whom, exactly, is named in the suit. Is it Apple alone, or are there others (I find the latter most likely) and who are they? It could easily be entirely the fault of a $20/hour temp.

It's like suing you and your insurance company together; you don't have the money to pay so a judgment against you is difficult to collect and may be essentially worthless, but the insurance company does have the money so they pay and then try to collect from you. The insurance company is blameless but ends up actually paying.

[ February 25, 2004, 04:03 PM: Message edited by: gordguide ]
 
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