On Tuesday, a judge ruled that The Source magazine
failed to comply with a copyright order during their feud over controversial lyrics
Eminem recorded years ago.
Federal Judge Gerard E. Lynch said Source Enterprises
violated an injunction to halt the publishing of the controversial lyrics when
they posted them on their website.
A small amount of damages were awarded to Shady
Records, while the Source’s counterclaim was dismissed.
In his decision, Lynch said The Source could
damage Eminem’s credibility by publishing the lyrics, which the magazine defended
as a journalistic expose.
"Mathers is the most prominent of the handful
of white Hip-Hop artists who have been artistically or commercially successful,"
Judge Lynch wrote. "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."
While the ruling could be viewed as a set back
for The Source, the magazine still has a larger case open verse Eminem, who’s
label, Shady Records called the publishing of the recording and lyrics copyright
infringement. That case is still being litigated.
The judge almost viewed the publishing of Eminem’s
lyrics as a deliberate attempt to disregard the injunction, stating "the
degree of acrimony and lawyerly zeal in this litigation makes it inconceivable
that Source was unaware that Shady would be vigorously monitoring its compliance
with the order."
In December, Lynch ruled The Source could release
up to :20 seconds of the CD and stated that the usage of the snippets fall into
fair use of copyrighted materials with the intent to criticize.
Lawyers for The Source maintained they had the
right to publish the material and to inform the public about the controversial
recording, which features Eminem using the N word and making degrading remarks
about African-American women.