According to TMZ, Fox is being sued by record label Empire Distribution over the name. The label is called Empire Distribution and they do distribution and publishing as well with big artists like Kendrick Lamar, Snoop Dogg, Too Short, N.O.R.E. and Sean Paul. The label claims Fox's musical drama "Empire" tarnishes its brand and believes the network has no rights to use the name. 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."FOX claims there's nothing special about the word "Empire," and the network has now filed a lawsuit trying to torpedo a demand by a record label laying claim to the name.
Empire Distribution is willing to live with the taint, but only if Fox pays $8 million ... $5 million if the 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. In the new world order, Fox notes that Empire Distribution is relatively obscure, showing up on the 7th page in a Google search. FOX wants the dispute put to bed STAT, before season 2 kicks off.