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Eminem Underpaid for Ringtones?
Highest Court C.D. California
Year Ended 2009
Plaintiffs Music Licensor(s)
Music Producer(s)
Defendants Aftermath Records
Interscope Records
UMG Records
Other Eminem
Short Description Eminem's production company sued Aftermath Records (and its parent companies) for payment of royalties earned from digital downloads and ringtone sales. The dispute arise over whether the digital uses were covered by the pre-existing record contract or "master license" agreement; Defendant had been calculating the the royalties at rates according to record royalties (12-20%), while Plaintiff believed the rates should be calculated according to licensing royalties (50%) and alleged $650,000 royalties were underpaid. Plaintiff sued for breach of contract, seeking a declaratory judgment. Under California law, when the meaning of a contract is disputed and not clearly susceptible to any plain meaning, the court must look to extrinsic evidence. Because Plaintiff said the language was clear and Defendant said it wasn't, the court found issues of fact regarding interpretation of the contract must be litigated, and summary judgments were denied. After the jury returned a verdict for Aftermath. the Ninth Circuit reversed and vacated, saying summary judgment should have been granted for Plaintiff. According to the court, the language of the contract unambiguously applied licensing rates to ringtones and digital distribution, which were licenses granted to third parties, and subsequent amendments kept this agreement in tact. Aftermath owed 50% of money earned from licensing the master recordings to others for digital purposes, and extrinsic evidence should not have been allowed. - LSW

Legal Issues
Contracts Breach Payment & Performance
Copyrights Ownership Assignments, Licenses & Renewal Rights


Opinions F.B.T. Productions, LLC v. Aftermath Records
621 F.3d 958 / 2010 WL 3448098
Ninth Circuit , September 03, 2010 ( Nos. 09-55817, 09-56069 )


F.B.T. Productions, LLC v. Aftermath Records
2009 WL 137021
C.D. California , January 20, 2009 ( No. CV 07-3314 PSG (MANx) )


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Related Searches Parties
Aftermath Records ( Defendant )
Eminem ( Other )
Interscope Records ( Defendant )
Music Licensor(s) ( Plaintiff )
Music Producer(s) ( Plaintiff )
UMG Records ( Defendant )

Legal Issues
Contracts / Breach / Payment & Performance
Copyrights / Ownership / Assignments, Licenses & Renewal Rights

Courts
C.D. California (highest court)
Ninth Circuit


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