Eminem’s litigious people make the news again, on reports that talks between the rapper’s ‘people’ and Apple legal are at a critical point, if both parties want to avoid a public spat in the US courts.

It’s a complex issue of music, distribution rights and music industry lawyers. In its briefest explanation, Eminem’s people are suing Apple and the Aftermath label for selling 93 Eminem tracks through iTunes. This is because Eminem’s Eight Mile High says neither the label nor Apple had the rights to sell digital downloads.

Eight Mile High is claiming Apple may have made as much as $2.5 million from sales of the rapper’s songs through iTunes (we don’t buy that, by the way). Eminem filed suit in 2005.

In legal documents filed to the Eastern District Court in Michigan, Eight Mile – along with co-plaintiff Martin Affiliated – alleges that Aftermath only had the rights to negotiate CD sales, not online distribution.

“Apple’s reproduction and distribution of the digital transmissions via iTunes constitutes a continuing, and willful, infringement of Eight Mile’s and Martin’s copyright interests,” the allegation states.

Apple denies these claims, arguing its deal with Aftermath (which provided the tracks and permissions) is legitimate.

It’s not the first time Eminem has fought Apple. Four years ago the two settled out of court after Apple ran a much-publicised advert that featured a trademark silhouetted figure dancing to the song Lose Yourself.

However, on this new case, should a deal not be agreed by the end of today, the case will go before a federal court in Michigan in a non-jury trial set to open on Thursday.

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