Eminem’s publisher sues Spotify for copyright infringement, apparently without the rapper’s knowledge

Em was “just as surprised as anyone else by this news”

Eminem’s publisher has sued Spotify for copyright infringement, alleging that the streaming service doesn’t have the license to stream more than 200 of the rapper’s songs, including hits like ‘Lose Yourself’ and ‘Stan’.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the lawsuit was filed Wednesday (August 21) by Eight Mile Style, which owns the rapper’s earlier catalogue. Notably, Eminem himself is not involved in this lawsuit. His publicist told The Verge that the rapper and his team were “just as surprised as anyone else by this news”.

Eight Mile Style claims that despite possessing no license for 243 Eminem songs, Spotify continued to host them without paying it for the “billions” of streams the tracks have accrued. “Instead [Spotify has] remitted random payments of some sort, which only purport to account for a fraction of those streams,” the complaint reads.

Citing Spotify’s valuation and market cap, the latter standing at about £21 billion ($26 billion), the complaint argues that “this windfall has made its way into the pockets of Spotify’s equity holders who not only were aware [the songs] were unlicensed, but chose to operate unlicensed in a rush to get their company to a financial exit.”

“Notably not sharing in these billions of dollars were music publishers like Eight Mile, or songwriters like Eminem, whose songs are the only assets Spotify has to attract the users that increased Spotify’s value,” it continues. Read the complaint in full here.

Eight Mile Style raises ‘Lose Yourself’, the chart-topping single from Eminem’s soundtrack to the 2002 film 8 Mile, as “the most egregious example of Spotify’s wilful infringement”. The publisher says that the song was placed in Spotify’s “Copyright Control” category, which is reserved for tracks whose copyright owner is unknown. But the published claims Spotify “certainly knew (and had the easy means to know)” that Eight Mile Style owned the copyright to the popular song.

Besides ‘Lose Yourself’, the 243 Eminem tunes in question include ‘Mockingbird’, ‘Stan’, ‘Without Me’ and ‘The Real Slim Shady’. See the full list here.

In addition to being reimbursed for its legal costs and fees, Eight Mile Style seeks Spotify’s “substantial” profits that have been earned from the songs’ streaming, the exact value of which will be proven at trial. Or, failing that, damages to the tune of £123,630 ($150,000) per song, or £30.04 million ($36.45 million) in total.

Eight Mile Style is represented by Richard Busch, the lawyer who famously won the Marvin Gaye estate its landmark copyright infringement case against Robin Thicke and Pharrell over ‘Blurred Lines’. He also helped The Script bring a suit against James Arthur, alleging the X Factor winner’s single ‘Say You Won’t Let Go’ ripped off the Irish band’s ‘The Man Who Can’t Be Moved’.