EMI sues over Def Jam Rapstar rights

Music label EMI is suing 4mm Games and Terminal Reality, accusing the two studios of failing to pay royalties owed from 2010 music game Def Jam Rapstar.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, EMI says that the game's developers failed to secure the proper licensing rights for 54 songs either wholly or in part owned by EMI and its subsidiaries.

It sounds odd – the game carries the Def Jam name, after all, and as such 4mm and Terminal Reality might be forgiven for thinking they had all the necessary rights. Yet many of the songs included in the game sampled old songs which EMI owns.

One such example is Kanye West's Stronger, which samples Daft Punk's Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger; EMI owns Virgin, Daft Punk's label, and claims 30 per cent ownership of West's work. Quite how Edwin Birdsong fits into this, however. is anyone's guess.

EMI is seeking damages of $150,000 for each of the 54 songs for which it claims it is owed – a total of $8.1 million (£5.1m) – as well as 4mm and Terminal Reality's net profits from the game.