For the past few years, Eminem's publisher Eight Mile Style has been engaged in a lawsuit against Spotify, centered around the accusation that the streaming giant had infringed on the rights of over two-hundred-and-fifty of his songs. Eight Mile Style also alleged that the Harry Fox Agency, an organization responsible for collecting royalties, conspired with Spotify to alter and falsify royalty statements among other documents in order to facilitate the process.
In the lawsuit, as reported by Billboard, Eight Mile Style alleges that Harry Fox Agency backdated notices and the licenses were never actually valid in the first place. And while Harry Fox opted to have the lawsuit, which was recently amended to include the company, dismissed, U.S. District Corut Judge Aleta Trauger of Nashville has recently denied their request.
Kevin Winter/Getty Images"HFA protests that all it is accused of doing is sending letters based on information it received from Spotify," explains the Judge, in a written statement. "At this stage, however, the court is required to take the plaintiffs’ allegations as true, and those allegations include the plaintiffs’ claims about how and why industry practice and HFA’s own reputation allowed HFA’s actions to conceal Spotify’s lack of a valid mechanical license for the Eight Mile Compositions."
"The purpose and effect of that concealment, moreover, was not simply to prevent past infringement from being discovered, but to allow infringement to continue," it continues. "Even if HFA was innocent in Spotify’s first alleged instances of infringement, the plaintiffs have plausibly alleged that its actions contributed to Spotify’s ability to continue infringing over time." Recognizing that it's entirely possible that the Fox Agency's denial of any wrongdoing may hold true, the Judge ultimately decided that letting this one play out in court was the wisest course of action.
One has to wonder about the potential ramifications this may have on the music industry, with one of the biggest superstars in the world going up against the largest streaming platform. Look for further developments on this ongoing legal battle as they unfold.