Hip-hop magazine THE SOURCE has been ordered to pay Eminem's legal fees for violating a federal court order not to publish full versions of the rapper's racially-charged lyrics.

The Source published the lyrics of an Eminem song on its website in January (04), violating a temporary restraining order issued by US District Judge GERARD LYNCH in December (03).

In a pair of rulings made public on Wednesday (09JUN04) in the copyright dispute between the magazine and the rapper - real name MARSHALL MATHERS - Lynch ordered The Source to pay legal fees to SHADY RECORDS INC, Eminem's label.

The judge compared Eminem to BENNY GOODMAN and Elvis Presley who also found success in musical genres created by black artists. But he said the First Amendment protects the rapper's "musical commentaries on life".

The judge wrote, "It is for fans of hip-hop, and not for this court, to decide what if anything this episode means for their opinions of Mathers as a man and as an artist."

In December, the judge allowed the magazine to publish limited excerpts from the lyrics and to distribute CDs containing small clips of the songs.

The dispute concerns two recordings made by Eminem as a teenager. They include lyrics such as, "Black girls are dumb, and white girls are good chicks."

The Source's co-owners, DAVID MAYS and RAYMOND SCOTT, have publicised the records, accusing Eminem of racism. The magazine also published a poster of Scott holding Eminem's severed head.

Eminem, now 31, has said the recording was "foolishness" that he made as a teenager out of anger and frustration after breaking up with a black girlfriend.

In a companion ruling, the judge dismissed a countersuit filed by The Source against Shady Records and Eminem himself, in which the magazine claimed it held the rights to the songs.

But he denied a request by Shady Records to fine the magazine thousands of dollars because the magazine quickly removed the lyrics in January (04) when lawyers complained.

MICHAEL S ELKIN, a lawyer for The Source, defends, "The Source had every right to publish the material it did release to inform the public about who Eminem is."

10/06/2004 21:46