New Zealand’s High Court has ruled that the country’s main conservative political party are guilty of misappropriating the song Lose Yourself by US rapper Eminem.
Judge Helen Cull, who made the ruling, determined that the National Party would have to pay NZ$600,000 (£314,000) to Eight Mile Style, Eminem’s music publisher.
The political party had used a song in an advert in 2014 which the court ruled bore similarities and style to Eminem’s song. The song titled Eminem-esque was played over 186 times before it was pulled off air due to Eight Mile Style filing a law suit.
The party had stated the song used was purchased from a stock music library and was not in fact Eminem’s song. According to the Telegraph, the President of the party, Peter Goodfellow said: “We purchased the piece of production music from a reputable Australian-based music production library, who had purchased it from a US supplier.”
Here’s the party’s ad that ran in 2014.
Ms Cull said it was not a mere coincidence the composer of Eminem-esque was listening to Lose Yourself as he composed his song.
Garry Williams, who represented the plaintiff said that the song is rarely licensed and rights to it are “enormously valuable.” He also told the court: “Lose Yourself is a jewel in the crown of Eminem’s catalogue,” reports the Telegraph, emphasising how precious the song is to Eminem.
According to the Guardian, Adam Simpson of Simpsons Solicitors, who represented Eight Mile Style, said the ruling will have a big impact on the global music industry where copyright infringements are involved. He said this: “This decision is a warning to soundalike music producers and their clients everywhere. The ruling clarifies and confirms the rights of artists and songwriters. It sets a major precedent in New Zealand and will be influenced in Australia, the UK and elsewhere.”
Lose Yourself originally featured in the film 8 Mile and is one of Eminem’s biggest hits, receiving a Grammy in 2004 for best rap song and an Academy Award for best original song a year before in 2003.
This is not the first time the famous rapper has sued for infringement. Back in 2004 he sued technology giant Apple for using one of his songs in their television advert without permission.
The ruling has come at a tough time for the political party having recently lost the 2017 election to a coalition directed by the Liberal Labour Party.