Judge Sides with Eminem in Source Dispute
06/10/2004 AT 12:00 PM EDT
The judge ruled that the hip-hop artist's record company, Shady Records, is entitled to money from the publisher of The Source magazine, Source Enterprises, for violating the star's copyright, The New York Times reports.
Judge Gerard E. Lynch of U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled against The Source, which on its Web site published old Eminem lyrics written before he became famous and disparage African-American women. (At the time of their posting, Eminem, now 31, apologized for the content of the lyrics, saying they were the words of a heartbroken young man.)
Referring to Eminem by his proper name, Marshall Mathers, the judge said that by publishing his lyrics, The Source – which claimed its posting was a journalistic expose – has potentially damaged the Grammy- and Oscar-winner's credibility. In a ruling that is both complimentary and possibly socially significant, Judge Lynch wrote: "Mathers is the most prominent of the handful of white hip-hop artists who have been artistically or commercially successful.
"Like other white musicians who have been successful in musical genres or forms pioneered by Africans or African-Americans, from Benny Goodman to Elvis Presley to Paul Simon, Mathers has been accused of exploiting black culture; he in turn has asserted his respect for his black role models and peers, and has maintained that he comes by his hip-hop success honestly, as a young man from a poor urban background who has long been associated with African-American friends, neighbors and mentors," said the jurist.
Michael S. Elkin, an attorney with the firm that represented The Source, tells The Times: "The Source had every right to publish the material it did release to inform the public about who Eminem is."