Eminem song was ripped off by political party, court rules


A New Zealand political party has been ordered to pay more than $400,000 to United States rapper Eminem for using music similar to his 2002 hit Lose Yourself in a television commercial to help win a national election. The television ad that featured the "Eminem Esque" track was shown 186 times during the party's 2014 election campaign before getting pulled from the airwaves.

The American rapper filed suit against the National in September 2014 for using a version of his song in its election campaign.

National has now said it is considering legal action against the suppliers and licensors, while Eight Mile Style has a case for third party liability which was held back until there was a decision on its case against the National Party. "We hope that we see more original music in advertising as a result, and that writers get properly acknowledged and rewarded for their hard work".

However Adam Simpson of Simpsons Solicitors, who acted for Eight Mile Style, said the decision was "a warning to sound-alike music producers and their clients everywhere".

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In her decision, the judge admonished the National Party by citing the song's chorus. She said it was no coincidence the composer of "Eminem Esque" had the music to the original in front of him when he wrote his song. "It copied the essential elements that made "Lose Yourself' a 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. It was calculated and intentional.

National Party President Peter Goodfellow said in a statement he was disappointed with the ruling.

Cull said that meant the National Party committed three breaches of copyright, by communicating a copy of Lose Yourself to the public without a licence, by authorising the copying, and authorising the use of the advertisements.