Eminem Hangs Up Ringtone Suit
As part of the settlement, which must be approved by U.S. District Judge Gerald E. Rosen in Detroit, Colorado-based Cellus US has agreed to stop manufacturing the ringtones and selling them over the Internet. Because the terms of the deal are under wraps, it's not known whether the company paid any monetary damages to the hip-hopster.
"The provisions of the agreement are confidential," Mary Margaret O'Donnell, Cellus' attorney, told the Detroit News.
The rap superstar's attorney, Howard Hertz, confirmed that both parties have reached "an amicable settlement."
Ringtone sales have taken off in the past two years, generating millions of extra revenue for the music business. A recent study from Jupiter Research revealed that the new format raked in $217 million in 2004 and will reach $724 million by 2009, leading Billboard magazine to add a ringtone chart, but also prompting artists to crackdown on any ill-gotten songs.
Also named in Eminem's complaint were ringtone makers FanMobile, Nextones.com, MyPhoneFiles and MatrixM LLC.
Nextones, headquartered in New York, reportedly failed to respond to the suit and Rosen subsequently entered a default judgment in the amount of $195,000 on May 16. Hertz said Eminem would seek to collect payment. New Jersey-based MyPhoneFiles is reportedly in the process of negotiating a licensing agreement with Em's publishing firms, which it hopes to announce soon.
In an encore, Emiinem's camp launched a similar legal salvo in February against a sixth company, Florida-based Phattones Media Productions. No word whether a settlement in that case is in the offing.
The entertainer, whose real name is Marshall Mathers III, isn't just targeting cell phones, but according to Hertz, is planning to sue karaoke companies in the next few months for spinning his tunes without first obtaining a license.
Eminem has been consistently vigilant about protecting his work.
In 2005, he took legal action and eventually settled with Apple for using a song in an iTunes commercial without permission. He also sued to stop The Source magazine from publishing lyrics from unauthorized, racially charged tracks from his early years as a rapper.
Eminem also moved up the release date for his last two albums in an effort to battle Internet piracy.