Eminem Has a Great Rap for Romance Writers

In March 2011 we blogged about a significant legal ruling supporting a claim brought by the producers of rapper recording artist Eminem. The claim was that what Eminem’s record company called “sales” – which paid a low royalty – should actually have been calculated as license revenues, a far higher number. We predicted that the court’s interpretation would one day be applied to book contracts. That day has come in the form of a class action lawsuit against Harlequin on the very same grounds.

To understand the distinction, which in Harlequin’s case is the difference between 3-4% to authors vs. 50%, read our original posting, When is E-Royalty Not a Royalty? When 9th Circuit Court Says It Isn’t.

On October 23rd Publishers Weekly reported that Harlequin’s attorneys filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit. The Eminem case may have a definite bearing on this one, so romance writers would be wise to keep an eye on this unfolding courtroom drama.

For a cogent analysis of the case and its implications for the book industry, read Copyright Alert: 9th Circuit Holds Digital Downloads are Licenses Not Sales by copyright authority Lloyd J. Jassin, to whom we’re indebted for bringing the case to our attention.

Richard Curtis
This blog post was originally published by Digital Book World as Fifty Percent, Four Percent, What’s the Difference?


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