Eminem is, well, hip-hoppin' mad -- at Apple Computer, its CEO Steve Jobs and just about anybody connected to Apple's iTunes TV commercial featuring a little kid singing along with Eminem's 2003 hit "Lose Yourself."
Lawyers for the Oscar-winning rapper's publishing company Eight Mile Style filed suit for copyright infringement against Apple last week in U.S. District Court, claiming the software giant used Eminem's music without permission in the spot that began running last July on MTV and the Apple Web site.
Also named in the suite were MTV and its parent company Viacom, and the TBWA/ Chiat/Day ad agency that created the commercial.
"You've got to admit there's an irony here," said a top music industry exec Wednesday, referring to the fact the ad promotes iTunes pay-per-download music software.
In the 15-page lawsuit, the music superstar's attorneys claimed, "Eminem has never nationally endorsed any commercial products and even if he were interested in endorsing a product, any endorsement deal would require a significant amount of money, possibly in excess of $10 million."
A spokesman for Apple declined comment on the case, claiming "a response will be made by our attorneys at the appropriate time." The lawsuit also claims that Jobs himself personally called Eight Mile Style in an attempt to resolve the issue. Eminem's response was to terminate discussions with Apple.
*The Eminem-Apple case is reminiscent of the recent $1.7 million settlement Best Buy made with members of "The Sopranos" cast -- after the electronics retailer used their likeness in a print ad without seeking permission.
Source: BILL ZWECKER SUN-TIMES COLUMNIST