Eminem Wins New Zealand Copyright Lawsuit; Awarded Over 400K In Damages

Dora Pope
October 26, 2017

A track entitled "Eminem Esque" which played during the National Party's successful 2014 national election campaign, was found by a New Zealand court to have substantially copied Eminem's 2002 hit - Lose Yourself.

Back in 2014, the National Party aired a campaign ad highlighting the nation's flourishing economy with a background track titled "Eminem Esque" that it used to drive home their message.

The High Court has awarded $600,000 to Eight Mile Style which published the song, the fee being the "hypothetical licence fee" since 2014 if they had been given permission to use the song for their advertising.

"The close similarities and the indiscernible differences in drum beat, the "melodic line" and the piano figures, make Eminem Esque strikingly similar to Lose Yourself", Cull wrote in her final judgment.

" We wish that we see even more initial music in advertising and marketing consequently and that authors obtain appropriately recognized as well as compensated for their effort".

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

The lawyers acting for Eminem's music company say the decision "is a warning to "sound alike" music producers and their clients everywhere". "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. It copied the essential elements that made Lose Yourselfa global hit.

The National party strongly rejected the allegation at the time of the filing and said the backing track came from an Australian-based production outfit.

"National is disappointed with today's High Court decision", its president Peter Goodfellow said. It was calculated and intentional. "We already have a claim against the suppliers and licensors of the track".

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