EMI Imposes Ownership Rights in Video Game Lawsuit

By Lora Neng
March 30, 2012

Not long after settling its lawsuit against Cash Money Records for unpaid licensing fees, EMI filed yet another claim of copyright infringement, this time against the producers of the Def Jam Rapstar video game. The karaoke video game offers a long roster of songs where players can place themselves in the role of major hip-hop stars, but apparently 54 of those songs were not cleared with the giant music label, who is now asking for $150,000 in statutory damages for each infringed upon work. This measures in claims amounting over $8 million against co-defendents 4mm Games and Terminal Reality.

A substantial complication lies in the nature of hip-hop music, whose culture is deeply rooted on sampling predecessor artists. Some examples listed as copyright infringed, according to Billboard, include EMI’s claim of 10 percent ownership of DJ Khaled’s “I’m So Hood,” 30 percent ownership of Lil Wayne’s “Got Money,” and 16 percent ownership of MIMS’ “This Is Why I’m Hot” for the joint work that numbered 16 collaborating writers.

In addition, the game’s features to create playlists in “party mode” that may uploaded to community websites is claimed to breach EMI’s rights to distribute, display, and publicly perform their music.

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