Eminem Sues New Zealand Governing Body for Copyright Infringement

By Joseph Mandour on May 10, 2017

San Diego – United States rap star, Eminem, is suing the current New Zealand ruling political party for copyright infringement. The dispute is over a campaign ad that the conservative National Party ran during the country’s 2014 election.

Representatives from Eminem’s Detroit based music publishing company, Eight Mile Style, claim that the music that underscores the ad is clearly from Eminem’s international bestselling track “Lose Yourself,” which was featured in the popular motion picture 8 Mile. Eight Mile Style copyright lawyer, Gary Williams, insists that the use of the song is a clear breach of copyright.
New Zealand claims that it purchased the backing-track used in the ad from a library created by Beatbox, a production music company. Beatbox is a popular service that features music similar to famous tracks, while being different enough to avoid copyright infringement.

The title of the track is “Eminem-esque” and it features the same insistent driving rhythm as “Lose Yourself,” but without any of the words. When this case was initially filed in 2014, Steven Joyce, a New Zeland based law maker, stated that he felt the use of the track was “pretty legal,” and went on to claim that Eminem was taking advantage of the fact that New Zealand was in an election season.

In a series of e-mails that were exchanged during the New Zealand campaign, one staff member expressed concern over the copyright issue. One e-mail points out that everybody who listens to the track assumes it is Eminem and the title of the track is “Eminem-esque.” The e-mail goes on to question the legality of using the song and whether they were in breach of copyright. Williams claims this e-mail shows it is “utterly clear” that the National Party knew it was ripping off Eminem.

Eminem and Eight Mile Style view “Lose Yourself” as the most successful song of the rapper’s career. They do not often grant permission for people to use the song for advertisement. They claim the song is so popular that when it is used it can command millions of dollars. Representatives of Eminem claim that their objection to the national party using the track is not political.

The trial began on Monday, May 1, 2017. Eminem is suing for a currently non-disclosed amount in damages. The New Zealand National party is refusing comment while the trial is ongoing.

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