EMI suing Def Jam Rapstar devs for at least $8 million

Music giant says Terminal Reality and 4mm Games failed to obtain rights for 54 songs and sounds that were included in 2010 karaoke game.

Def Jam Rapstar may be harboring unlicensed songs. Music giant EMI is suing Def Jam Rapstar developers Terminal Reality and 4mm Games for at least $8 million for failing to obtain the rights to many of its songs, according to New York federal court documents obtained by the Hollywood Reporter.

Today is not a good day for Def Jam Rapstar.

EMI is proceeding against the developers over 54 songs and sounds it says were infringed upon. The music label is demanding damages of $150,000 per work, for a total of over $8 million. On top of this, EMI is seeking an unspecified share of Def Jam Rapstar's net profits.

EMI is asserting "part ownership" of the supposedly infringed songs and beats. For example, EMI claims 10 percent ownership of DJ Khaled's "I'm So Hood," 16 percent ownership in Mims' "This Is Why I'm Hot," and 30 percent ownership of Lil Wayne's "Got Money."

The fractional values are a result of the songs having multiple contributors and underlying samples, according to the report.

The music label also said some of the sound recordings it owns were infringed upon by Def Jam Rapstar, including Daft Punk's "Harder Better Faster Stronger." The beat in this song was used by Kanye West--who is signed to an EMI label--in his popular song "Power."

EMI reportedly contacted Terminal Reality and 4mm Games concerning the matter, but its requests went unanswered. GameSpot contacted Terminal Reality for comment, but as of press time, the company had not responded. Attempts to contact 4mm were unsuccessful.

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Discussion

54 comments
jamesh-42
jamesh-42

So is the argument that they didn't obtain licenses from the artists whose music was sampled by the artists whose tracks where featured in the game? That sounds like a really messy way to handle royalties: wouldn't it make more sense for the people who do the sampling be responsible for dispersing the royalties? Presumably they were paid by the developer/publisher, and may have even claimed they had the right to license the recordings.

mtait01
mtait01

how can Konami make such an amateur mistake?

jinzo9988
jinzo9988

I think non-consumers grossly over-value music. $150,000 per song? Really? What kind of draconian fecal matter is that?

kwanzudood
kwanzudood

I think that Daft Punk song sampled by Kanye was used in his song "Stronger", not "Power".

Paul2004
Paul2004

More lawsuits....these lawyers must make a fortune. Looks like someones just decided to have a go and hope for some easy money, hope it gets thrown out fast and the door shut on their face. You own a Beat from a song.....pathetic !

torrne667
torrne667

Every Mistake Imaginable, gotta love the u.s of a and this suing generation. Unfortunately we have enough sheep over here (UK) that have jumped on the bandwagon and cannot watch the tv without adverts for these ambulance chasing companies every five seconds. Heres a thought, why not concentrate on what you are doing/signing..and none of this may be nessessary.

Cataclysmm
Cataclysmm

alexLmx6 Lol so true,they are a set of money hungry vultures always hovering.

digi-demon
digi-demon

Huh. Ok, but did anyone actually by DefJam Rapstar ? :lol:

TheGame50401
TheGame50401

Really, 8 mill... Talk about being greedy, the song's were probably no hitters anyways and the guys are just tryin ta get paid for what their songs didn't earn'em... LoL...

JohnnyWPSP
JohnnyWPSP

The beat of "Harder Better Faster Stronger" is used in Ye's "Stronger", not "Power". Just sayin.

supertom221
supertom221

LOL I HAZZ NO IDEA WHAT I'M READIN' ROFL! Who cares. A s*** game gets sued for using s*** songs without proper authorization. Overall, screw this s***. NEEEEEXXXT!

alexLmx6
alexLmx6

They probably have a whole division of lawyers who are paid to simply wander around looking for people to sue.

SecularSage
SecularSage

Just another great example of how labyrinthe and difficult the world of licensing popular music can be - chances are good that Terminal Reality and/or 4mm Games paid for licenses to the songs, but didn't count on the labels owning the sampled music coming after them. If I'm understanding the situation correctly, it's the fault of the licensor, not the licensee, that these monies haven't been paid. In this case, I'd be willing to bet that EMI goes after those who license the music instead of the artists because they know they can win in court or get a settlement. It's harder to win against the artists because of the notion of "fair use." Plus, by going after the licensees, they also prevent themselves from looking like bullies to the artists. What a messed-up system.

hunter8man
hunter8man

"EMI is seeking an unspecified share of Def Jam Rapstar's net profits." So they want a couple of quarters in a can? Was this game so popular that they seek this 2 years after the game has been out?

franzito
franzito

@Phil-teh-Pirate You just read my thoughts! But since rappers can make a fortune out of "their music", it seems EMI wants some cash back on his "success".

VilandasUK
VilandasUK

Remove those 54 songs somehow and your problems will disappear :)

dancarrero
dancarrero

Big time stupid!The music industry has been behind all the moves to shut down file sharing and downloading sites.They sue single working mothers because of what their children download. Historically,they have ripped off their own artists by cooking the books.Sharks aint got nuthin on these guys.

BryanParksSuper
BryanParksSuper

Music Developers tend to this alot. GH and Rock Band both got sued and lost.

Phil-teh-Pirate
Phil-teh-Pirate

I think the biggest question in this saga still goes unanswered; Who would want to play a "karaoke" rap game anyway?

KelpsterD
KelpsterD

@XanderMercury Well said sir.

soulless4now
soulless4now

The damages probably totally more than the game's actual profit.

XanderMercury
XanderMercury

How ironic; a game featuring songs from a genre that blatantly samples (or in some cases rips off) other songs is under fire for not getting the rights to songs from a genre that blatantly samples (or blatantly rips off) other songs. And record companies wonder why the public doesn't give a crap about them...it's all about money.

XboxGuy1537
XboxGuy1537

This sad game didn't sell squat. I saw around 20 copies for $10 a piece in the bargain section.

badiie05
badiie05

Hahah didn't the studio's legal team look over this before production, this is so funny.

jubdeidamasta
jubdeidamasta

Record labels have to find some way to make money these days/

Agent-M
Agent-M

54 songs is definitely more than a little mistake.

Marky360
Marky360

I honestly don't understand how this happens isn't there suppose to be someone making sure they have the rights to the music before they use it in order to avoid situations like this. Seems like someone didn't do there job.

Mr__Maniacal
Mr__Maniacal

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

deth420
deth420

I didnt know emi was still around! refer to the sex pistols, they were calling emi on this stuff in the 70's-80's

slonekb05
slonekb05

did this game even make 8mil?

---Cipher---
---Cipher---

I'd feel bad, but I don't for a name like def jam rapstar...

Vambran
Vambran

This game is listed as a Puzzle. Who buys these games?

PetJel
PetJel

Someone failed, everybody pays. With their jobs and income. Sounds about fair.

Velocity
Velocity

Thats what you get for turning the servers off :)

servb0ts
servb0ts

I never knew this game existed!

Mark07041971
Mark07041971

Replace "EMI" with "EA" in the above article, and PRESTO! You now have a clear vision of the future of gaming, if current trends continue unabated.

AuronAXE
AuronAXE

R.I.P. TR and 4mm Games. No way they can pay that off.

talool1
talool1

Weird, It's really late... and I don't think the developers would put songs which they don't have the license to. Really hope they win this one, as this game was really fun in parties. Very Bizarre. . .

Dark_Arcitekt
Dark_Arcitekt

Technically Daft Punk sampled Harder Better Faster Stronger from Cola Bottle Baby.Kanye sampled off Daft Punk.EMI owns nothing of that beat period.Another company trying to cash in on what doesn't belong to them.Fail!

nurnberg
nurnberg

This is the new way for the music industry to make money : sue people. They also want to sue everybody who download songs on the internet. They have powerful teams of lobbyists to bribe the world governments and have them pass laws like SOPA, PIPA, etc. If nothing is done, the music industry will own the internet

beavis666x2
beavis666x2

Harder Better Faster Stronger was sampled in Stronger, not Power.

babyjoker973
babyjoker973

Well,for the creators of the game..save more money on a flight ticket and move to another continent and become or fugitive...or play the mega million hope to win

PixelAddict
PixelAddict

Wow... 2 years later... I think we can all agree this is a prime example of how music companies such as EMI are going out of business. They are really, really out of touch.

csftar
csftar

Didn't the game came out like... a year and a half ago?