Two closely watched cases in the music industry are about to go to trial involving a motley crew of characters: Eminem’s producers, Rob Zombie, Rick James (his estate at least) and Steve Jobs.
Apple is claiming that a deposition of Steve Jobs from a 2010 trial involving F.B.T. Productions, producers of several hit Eminem tracks, could, if released, bring competitive harm to the company over “highly confidential and proprietary trade secrets.”
The main trial involves the aforementioned blonde rapper’s producers and Aftermath Records, a division of Universal Music Group, in a debate over whether digital music should be treated as “licenses” and not “sales.” As the Hollywood Reporter puts it, “The two sides are about to go to trial to figure out exactly how much that is worth.”
In a separate case — Rob Zombie and several other musicians have filed a class action lawsuit against UMG — the plaintiffs are asking for documents related to an earlier trial involving F.B.T. Productions and UMG.
So what’s the issue?
According to the Hollywood Reporter, when Jobs was being deposed in 2010 the judge sent nearly everyone out of the court room and again when the deposition was played back to the jury. The dispute stems from the plaintiff’s inability to prove to Apple why the requested documents — which includes information on Apple’s business dealings with record labels — are relevant to their case against UMG. Apple goes even further and blames the musician’s attorney’s for seeking documents that are “broad but indiscriminate.”
So what is Apple hiding? At this point, only Apple and the few folks directly involved with the 2010 trial know but that could soon change if Zombie and friends get their way.