April 24, 2018

United States rapper Eminem wins copyright case against NZ political party

26 October 2017, 12:43 | Sam Montgomery

NATIONAL The 2014 National Party advert showed a rowing team with a voice speaking over a Eminem-style music track

The 2014 National Party advert showed a rowing team with a voice speaking over a Eminem-style music track

The party used the song during its successful 2014 election campaign before pulling the advertisement off the air.

A New Zealand political party is to pay more than $400,000 to a USA rapper, Eminem, for using music similar to his in a television commercial to help win an election.

The then-Government fought its case in the High Court in May this year, accused of knowingly trying to sidestep licensing fees by using the track Eminem Esque.

High Court judge Helen Cull said the campaign song sounded like a copy and was a copy. "We find it incredible that the National party went to such great lengths to avoid responsibility for using a weak rip-off of 'Lose Yourself, '" he said. "It's a validation to us that this song is absolutely original".

Martin claimed he hadn't yet discussed the judgment with Eminem, aka Marshall Mathers III, but rejoiced the rap artist hadn't been had to take a trip to New Zealand "to view the paint completely dry in the court area".

Cull stopped short of awarding additional damages, saying the party had only used the song after receiving professional advice that it could do so, and hadn't acted recklessly.

The National Party bought the track Eminem Esque from a company called Beatbox, which in turn bought the licence from California-based music library Labrador.

Eminem's lawyer, Garry Williams, said the payout sends a strong message. "The undeniable inference to be drawn from the evidence is that the composer of "Eminem Esque" had "Lose Yourself" in front of him at the time of composition", it added. "Eminem Esque has substantially copied 'Lose Yourself, '" the ruling says.

National Party President Peter Goodfellow said in a statement he was disappointed with the ruling. It was calculated and intentional. He said the celebration brought the music in proper belief from an Australia-based library that had bought it from a US supplier.

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