For the half-year to 31 December 2014, the IPKat's regular team is supplemented by contributions from guest bloggers Rebecca Gulbul, Lucas Michels and Marie-Andrée Weiss.

Regular round-ups of the previous week's blogposts are kindly compiled by Alberto Bellan.

Monday, 22 December 2003

FORMERLY ANTI-ESTABLISHMENT STAR SAVED BY THE COURT

In New York last week, acoring to mtv.com, a Federal court judge granted white rap star Eminem (Marshall Mathers) an injunction against The Source, blocking the hip-hop publication from releasing a CD containing a controversial freestyle. The magazine's owners, Ray "Benzino" Scott and David Mays, held a press conference last month to publicise an old recording in which a young Marshall Mathers talks disparagingly about black women. They promised that a CD of the freestyle would be included in their February issue, due on newsstands on 13 January. An apologetic Eminem conceded he made the song in anger: "I did and said a lot of stupid s**** when I was a kid, but that's part of growing up. The tape of me rapping 15 years ago as a teenager that was recently put out by The Source in no way represents who I was then or who I am today". Attorneys for Eminem and his label, Shady Records, filed suit in Manhattan last Monday, citing copyright infringement and seeking both an injunction and unspecified damages.

The IPKat notes that the United States is a member of the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, Article 6bis of which requires signatory states to protect authors and artists against attacks on their moral rights. If the public exposure of this skeleton in Eminem’s cupboard constitutes “derogatory action … which would be prejudicial to his honour or reputation”, he would be entitled to protection even if the economic rights in the copyright were not infringed. What's more, damage to his moral rights would be the subject to separate compensation apart from the usual damages for making unauthorised reproductions. Also, as a good European moggie, the IPKat also wonders if there isn’t a free speech and public interest issue at stake here: are Eminem’s past opinions, even if he disowns them, a matter of public interest and concern, given the performer’s huge influence on the minds of the young.

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