Last year, Detroit production team FBT Productions won a landmark lawsuit against Universal Music Group for unpaid licensing royalties from digital sales of rapper Eminem’s albums, with whom they have worked extensively. But now, it looks like Em may not receive monetary damages from the case, contrary to earlier reports that he stood to make an additional $30 million from the win.
According to Forbes’s Zack O’Malley Greenburg, Marshall Mathers did not agree to take part in the original lawsuit, possibly due to implications of an artist suing the very record label that releases his music. Since he did not take part in any of the proceedings, representatives of FBT Productions say that he will not receive any of the damages awarded from their legal victory.
“[Eminem] wouldn’t get a percentage of those damages,” said FBT Productions’ manager Joel Martin. “He’d have to go to court or negotiate with the record company.”
Yet experts indicate that Eminem is not without hope in the case. The legal precedent that FBT set in their win against against Universal – that digital sales of music should be considered a license rather than a sale, thus guaranteeing artists 50% of revenues instead of 12% – could help him to negotiate with his label for royalties.
“Our argument was very simple: that agreements between companies and artists were licenses, and that they should be paid as such,” says FBT Productions’s attorney Richard Busch “[For Eminem], the real impact is going forward. It’s impossible to calculate, as long as he keeps getting hits, but the amount of money at stake could be immense.”
FBT Productions is a Detroit-based production team comprised of brothers Jeff and Mark Bass. They produced the majority of Em’s 1999 studio debut The Slim Shady LP, as well as selections from his diamond-certified albums The Marshall Mathers LP and The Eminem Show.