Eminem's music publisher is suing Spotify, claiming the streaming service infringed on the copyrights of hundreds of songs. The lawsuit also challenges the constitutionality of a landmark music licensing law.
Music publisher Eight Mile Style, in a lawsuit filed Wednesday in Tennessee federal court, alleges that Spotify willfully committed an infringement by reproducing Eminem hits like Lose Yourself and "pretending" to have licenses. The complaint also claims Spotify violated the Music Modernization Act, a federal law passed in October that is designed to streamline the process for artists and songwriters compensated for streaming music.
Despite not having proper licensing agreements, Spotify has streamed the music publisher's compositions "billions of times" but "has not accounted to Eight Mile or paid Eight Mile for these streams but instead remitted random payments of some sort, which only purport to account for a fraction of those streams," the lawsuit says.
Central to the lawsuit is how Spotify allegedly categorized the music. The streaming service labeled Lose Yourself as "copyright control," a designation for songs whose copyright owner is unknown. Eight Mile Style called Spotify's assertion that it couldn't locate the copyright holders of Lose Yourself -- an Oscar-winning song from the 2002 hit movie 8 Mile -- "absurd."
"Spotify has not accounted to Eight Mile or paid Eight Mile for these streams but instead remitted random payments of some sort, which only purport to account for a fraction of those streams," the complaint says.
The lawsuit seeks statutory damages of $150,000 for each of the 243 compositions Spotify allegedly infringed -- an award that could cost the streaming service more than $3 billion. It also seeks to disqualify Spotify from MMA limitation of damages and declare the federal law unconstitutional as it applies to Eight Mile Style's allegations.
This isn't the first time Spotify has been accused of copyright infringement. In 2018, music publisher Wixen, alleging the digital music platform had played music by Wixen artists such as Tom Petty, Neil Young and The Doors, without first obtaining proper licenses or compensating the publisher. That lawsuit was reportedly .
Spotify didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.