Will the real rights holder please stand up?

Eminem’s music publisher, Eight Mile Style, is suing Apple, saying the use of 93 songs on iTunes was never authorized.

Along with co-plaintiff Martin Affiliated, the company is also suing Aftermath Records, which controls the recordings, saying it didn’t have the right to make deals on digital downloads. It claims Apple has wrongly made as much as $2.5m from unauthorised iTunes sales, with Aftermath helping itself to $4 million.

According to the filing, Apple is making the songs available through a ‘purported’ license with Universal – despite the fact that, it claims a deal was never struck. “Indeed, Universal has, on any number of occasions, asked Eight Mile and Martin to execute agreements allowing Apple to reproduce and distribute the transmissions, but Eight Mile and Martin have not provided that permission,” it reads.

But Apple says that Eight Mile agreed back in 1998 and 2003 that Aftermath owned the master sound recordings, and that it had the exclusive license to distribute them in any form.

A trial is scheduled for tomorrow, unless a settlement is reached today.

Eminem – aka Marshall Mathers – has had run-ins with Apple and Universal before. Four years ago, he and Apple reached an out of court settlement after Apple ran an ad featuring a silhouetted figure dancing to one of his songs. He also sued Universal for failure to pay royalties.