Kiwi Party Learns Copying Eminem Song Was Wrong Move

New Zealand's National Party to cough up $415K, plus interest, for ripping off 'Lose Yourself' in ads
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 25, 2017 7:53 AM CDT
Judge: Kiwi Party to Pay $415K Ripping Off Eminem Song
In this April 15, 2012, file photo, Eminem performs at the 2012 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, Calif.   (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, File)

A New Zealand judge said Eminem's lyrics "You own it, you better never let it go" turned out to be prophetic after ruling that a political party breached copyright by using a song similar to Eminem's "Lose Yourself" in its campaign ads. High Court Judge Helen Cull on Wednesday ordered the conservative National Party to pay the Detroit rapper's publisher $415,000 plus interest, the AP reports. The party ran a TV ad 186 times that used the song "Eminem Esque" during its successful 2014 election campaign before pulling the ad off the air. In her 132-page ruling, Cull said "Eminem Esque" reproduced the essence of "Lose Yourself" and that it was no coincidence the composer of "Eminem Esque" had the music to the original in front of him when he wrote his song. The judge based the amount of the award on a hypothetical license fee the party might have paid to use Eminem's song.

Cull also noted that Eminem publisher Eight Mile Style rarely OKs the use of "Lose Yourself" in ads. She stopped short of awarding additional damages, saying the party had only used the song after receiving expert advice it could do so and hadn't acted recklessly. The odd case had featured moments such as gowned lawyers listening studiously to profanity-laced rap. "We think it's a very strong judgment, and a cautionary tale for people who make or use soundalikes around the world," says an Eight Mile Style lawyer. National Party President Peter Goodfellow said in a statement he was disappointed with the ruling and that the party purchased the music in good faith from an Australia-based library that bought it from a US supplier; the party has filed a claim against the track's suppliers and licensers. An Eight Mile Style rep says he hasn't discussed the ruling with Eminem, aka Marshall Mathers III.

(More New Zealand stories.)

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