Transition Music Corporation | Appeals Court Rules In Royalties Case
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Appeals Court Rules In Royalties Case

Appeals Court Rules In Royalties Case

Lawsuit Seeking Greater Digital Royalties for Eminem’s Music Is Settled

October 30, 2012

From New York Times blog

A federal lawsuit that has been closely watched in the music industry because of its potential effect on the contentious issue of digital royalties has been settled.

In the case, F.B.T. Productions v. Aftermath Records, a team of Eminem’s early producers sued a subsidiary of the Universal Music Group, arguing that they were not getting the royalties they were owed from downloads at iTunes and other digital stores.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in California, ruled in F.B.T.’s favor in 2010, overturning a jury verdict by a lower court, and the parties have been involved in a damages trial for more than a year. They announced the settlement in a court filing on Monday, but both sides declined to reveal the terms of their agreement.

The full effect of the F.B.T. case on the music business is still unclear. Universal declined to comment on Tuesday, but in the past the company has disputed that the case set a legal precedent. David M. Given, a lawyer in San Francisco involved in a number of such cases, including one filed by the estate of the singer Rick James, disagrees with that view.

“The legal precedent the case set has already had a profound impact,” Mr. Given wrote in an e-mail on Tuesday. “If U.M.G. paid the price, which I think it probably did, then that will set the bar (which I expect will be high) for the settlement of other download royalty claims, like the ones in the James class action, for other recording artists.”

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