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Facebook denies Michigan company's copyright violation claims

Facebook and an advertising firm contracted by the social networking website recently filed a written response when a Detroit court rejected claims that it violated copyrights held by rapper Eminem's song publishing company, Eight Mile Style. The Michigan-based publishing firm accused Facebook of airing a commercial using music that is extremely similar to an Eminem and D12 song entitled "Under the Influence," thus violating Eight Mile Style's copyright on the track.

While Eight Mile Style has not formally pursued commercial litigation against the social media giant and its advertiser, it submitted a legal complaint regarding the company's use of music that is allegedly similar to its own. In the complaint, Eight Mile Style contends "any ordinary observer would absolutely recognize the music as being a copy of the Eminem/D12 composition."

The 10-page complaint goes on to explain that the song in question comes from Eminem's third album and most successful release, The Marshall Mathers LP, which has sold a total of 22 million copies. The complaint also notes that Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and chief executive of Facebook, is a self-professed Eminem fan. He even allegedly referred to himself as Slim Shady, a well-known pseudonym that has been long associated with Eminem on a personal website he published over a decade ago. The complaint suggests that Zuckerberg's familiarity and taste for Eminem's work makes it plausible that he would use similar-sounding in his company's advertising.

Facebook and its advertising agency responded that the music used in its commercial is "not substantially similar to protectable expression contained in the musical composition" at the center of the complaint. Though the companies summarily deny Eight Mile Style's allegations of copyright infringement, their response does acknowledge that Zuckerberg's respect for Eminem as a musical artist. The defendants are likely waiting for a judge to assess the complaint and determine whether Eight Mile Style has a case before responding further and preparing for litigation.

Source: M Live, "Facebook responds to Eminem song publisher's claim it violated copyright laws; view court details" Eric Lacy, Jun. 29, 2013

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