The music video for Kanye West’s single Monster has been banned by MTV. The television network made the decision to pull the video in response to an outcry over the way women are being portrayed in the footage.
At the forefront of the outrage are two activists Sharon Haywood and Melinda Tankard Reist, who created a petition asking MTV and Universal Music Group to stop promoting the video, and in the process managed to get over 1,600 signatures.
“The mainstreaming of videos like this increases desensitized and callous attitudes toward violence against women,” said Reist, one of the campaign’s originators. “Young people are seeing images and absorbing harmful messages which glamorize misogyny and brutalize women.”
Adding, “Women are reduced to sex-doll like playthings. So great is the level of desensitization that the barbaric treatment of women and girls is seen as normal and to be expected. We decided to run this campaign because we wanted to challenge the status quo.”
Their work isn’t completely done though, pointed out Reist, who said that they are determined to continue their campaign until Universal Music Group responds to the petition.
Monster collaborators Jay-Z, Rick Ross, and Nicki Minaj appear in the video alongside West.
Rapper Eminem and the music production company that helped launch his career are entitled to increased royalties from digital downloads of the entertainer’s music on iTunes and other online retailers, a federal appeals court panel decided Friday.
The three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a March 2009 jury verdict that Detroit-based FBT Productions was not owed royalties by Universal Music Group for downloads and cellphone ring tones.
The lawsuit for breach of contract was brought by FBT against Universal, which distributes Eminem’s recordings and is the world’s largest music company.
Eminem, whose real name is Marshall Bruce Mathers III, was not a party to the lawsuit, which went to trial in U.S. District Court in downtown Los Angeles last year, although he could benefit from the outcome.
FBT argued that Eminem is entitled to half the net receipts Universal gets from digital downloads, instead of the lower split agreed to in the company’s first contract with the rapper, signed in 1995 before the explosion in digital downloading.
The contract was amended in 1998 when FBT made a deal with producer Dr. Dre’s Aftermath/Interscope label, which is a unit of Universal, to release and market his albums. Eminem’s breakthrough, “The Slim Shady LP,” was issued in 1999.
The appeals court ruled that the contracts were “unambiguous” with respect to digital sales.
The district court “should have granted summary judgment to FBT,” U.S. Circuit Court Judge Barry G. Silverman wrote in the opinion. “We therefore reverse the judgment and vacate the district court’s order awarding Aftermath its attorneys’ fees.” Universal argued at trial that downloads from third parties such as Apple’s iTunes are no different from any other form of retail sales and are covered by royalty provisions outlined in the initial contract.
FBT, which is owned by brothers Jeff and Mark Bass, gets a percentage of the royalties Universal pays the entertainer.
At issue are the potentially huge royalties earned when Universal licenses Eminem’s music to third-party distributors, such as iTunes and cellphone companies, which market the songs as ring tones.
During trial, Jeff Bass testified that after his brother Mark discovered a 15-year-old Eminem during an open-microphone segment on a Detroit radio station in 1995 and signed him to a contract, they cut an album with him, “Infinite.”
The album was a flop, Jeff Bass said, but he and his brother nonetheless decided “there was something there.”
Subsequently, the Bass brothers wrote and produced more than a dozen songs for later Eminem albums on Aftermath, which sold almost 30 million copies around the world, Jeff Bass said. The siblings won Grammys for their work with the rapper.
Under questioning, Mark Bass said the initial 1995 contract seemed to cover “future forms of distribution,” but at the time, nobody predicted digital would become a major revenue source for the music industry.
Popular Hip-Hop group Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, producer Swizz Beatz and R&B singer Akon have been hit with a lawsuit by a Texas-based music publisher.
Songster, which is located in Fort Worth, Texas, filed the lawsuit in the Central District of California yesterday (July 14).
The company claims the Bone Thug’s lead single from their 2007 album Strength and Loyalty illegally lifted portions of the 1978 track “When The Day Will Come (aka KRSNA)” by group Rasa.
The lawsuit lists a variety of Hip-Hop artists who have sampled chanting from the song, which has been incorporated into tracks by KRS-One (“Beef”), Black Rob (“Can I Live”), Common (“Take It Easy”) and others with permission.
Songster also names Akon, the track’s producer, Swizz Beatz, owner of the Full Surface record label, Interscope Records, Sony A.T.V. Publishing and Universal Music Group in the lawsuit.
Songster claims they notified each defendant in writing about the infringement, but the album and song was still sold as physical CD’s and digital downloads.
Songster seeks to take the case to trial, to determine the amount of damages the original producer and songwriter of “Everything You See is Me” are entitled to.
They are also demanding all profits earned from the sales of Bone Thug’s track, in addition to removing any CD’s containing the track from being sold through physical and digital stores.