The Ninth Circuit's Eminem License vs Sale Decision


When you're one of the biggest rap stars in the world, it shouldn't be surprising to find news of one of your recent court victories splashed all over the mainstream news; when that court victory prompts reactions like "staggering", no one should be shocked to see major news stories about the court decision being carried by major outlets all over the world (a sampling of coverage: the Toronto Star; the Los Angeles Times; the Wall Street Journal). And so it is with the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision in the case of F.B.T. Productions et al v Aftermath Records et al (full text of the decision is available here), a court case relating to the works of Marshal B. Mathers III, otherwise known as Eminem. (For ease of reference in the following discussion I'm going to use the term "artist" and "label" to refer to the plaintiffs (FBT et al) and the defendants (Aftermath, et al), respectively, even though, technically, the plaintiffs in this case weren't necessarily limited to the artist and the defendants weren't limited to the record labels.)

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