Eminem Shakes Down Illegal Ringtone Makers
Wed, 07 Jun 2006 17:15:25
Eminem is cracking down on Internet companies that illegally sell ringtones based on his music. Em and his lawyers have arrived at a settlement with one of the companies, Colorado-based Cellus USA, but still have unresolved lawsuits with five others: FanMobile, Nextones.com, MatrixM, Phattones Media Productions, and myPhonefiles.
Slim Shady attorney Howard Hertz said that the settlement was "amicable," but further details were cloaked under a confidentiality agreement. Cellus USA has agreed to stop distributing the ringtones, but it is not known whether they also paid a financial penalty.
MyPhonefiles may also be close to reaching a settlement, according to company attorney Jill Wheaton. Nextones.com, meanwhile, did not respond to the initial suit, which has resulted in a $195,000 judgment against them.
Ringtone sales are big business, making up $217 million of the total sales in the music industry in 2004 -- and projected to skyrocket up to $725 million annually within the next three years. The increased attention has even led to the addition of a best-selling ringtone chart in Billboard.
But it's not just illegal ringtones that concern Eminem's legal team. Hertz also declared his intentions to go after song distributors who sell Eminem songs to karaoke bars without permission. Anyone accustomed to bringing the house down on Karaoke Night with "Lose Yourself" may want to consider learning some new songs.
--The ARTISTdirect Staff