A lawsuit brought by rapper Eminem against Universal Music Group, the parent company to Interscope and Dr. Dre’s Aftermath, is going to court today. Eminem’s lawsuit claims that digital downloads should be considered a licensing arrangement and therefore artists should be paid 50% of the profit, rather than the current miniscule payment for what has been labeled a distribution deal. In short, if Eminem wins, he and fellow UMG artists U2, Jay-Z, Kanye West, and many more will be getting millions of dollars in withheld royalties.
Since iTunes is a key player in this dispute over digital music, Steve Jobs’ opinion on the matter is very important to the case, especially because he published an essay in 2007 in which he said Apple’s relationship with UMG involved licensing music. That word, “license,” is central to the lawsuit’s claim. Steve Jobs is scheduled to testify via video, as he is currently on a health-related hiatus from Apple.