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Fox network countersues music company over Empire name

LAWSUIT: Fox's Empire stars Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson

WHAT'S IN a name? Well depending on the outcome of a lawsuit filed by a record label, it could mean the difference of $8 million...

FOX is currently in a legal dispute with a music distribution company, that claims that the network needs to cough up some big dough if it wants the hit television show, Empire to keep its name.

Broadcasting giant, FOX claims there's nothing special about the word 'Empire', and the network has now filed a lawsuit trying to torpedo a hefty demand by a record label laying claim to the name.

The music label, called Empire Distribution, releases digital music from urban artists including leading hip-hop stars Snoop Dogg, T.I. and Kendrick Lamar.

It claims that FOX has no right to use the name 'Empire' because the show tarnishes its brand.

Empire Distribution has claimed it's being hurt because the fictitious label on the show is run by a "homophobic drug dealer prone to murdering his friends."

Empire Distribution is willing to live with the taint though, but only if FOX hands over $8 million or $5 million if the TV show uses Empire Distribution's artists as regulars.

But now FOX has filed a lawsuit asking a judge to declare Empire Distribution's demand bogus, reported TMZ.

In the new world order, FOX notes that Empire Distribution is relatively obscure, showing up on the 7th page in a Google search.

FOX'S fictional Empire Records releases urban music including hip-hop and R&B in the show, but in a real life twist, songs from the series are actually available for sale as well.

Columbia Records released songs from each episode for the duration of the series and then dropped the Original Soundtrack from Season 1 of Empire compilation on March 10.

The soundtrack scored 130,000 sales units, ahead of 121,000 units for Madonna's 13th studio album, Rebel Heart for the week ending March 15, landing the No 1 spot on the Billboard Charts.

Empire, starring Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson, is the first TV soundtrack to debut at No 1 since 2010, when three albums from Glee were released, according to Billboard.

The original songs on the soundtrack - overseen by the show’s executive music producer, Timbaland - include contributions from cast members Howard and Jussie Smollett as well as Jennifer Hudson, Mary J Blige, Courtney Love and Juicy J.

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