Eminem filed proceedings against New Zealand’s then governing party in late 2014. He did this after they used a version of his song Lose Yourself in an election campaign advertisement.
This week saw the court rule that the National party’s use of a track titled Eminem Esque was “sufficiently similar” to his original song – and it impinged on copyright.
“Eminem Esque has substantially copied Lose Yourself,” stated the ruling stated.
“The differences between the two works are minimal; 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. Eminem Esque substantially reproduces the essence of Lose Yourself. The parts of Eminem Esque used in the National party’s campaign advertisements also substantially reproduce Lose Yourself.”
Director of Simpsons solicitors, Adam Simpson, acted for Eminem’s company, Eight Mile Style, and writers Jeff Bass and Luis Resto, added: “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 influential in Australia, the UK and elsewhere.”
Speaking on behalf of the publishers, Joel Martin concluded: “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. They knew we would not have permitted the use of the song in their political advertisement; however, they proceeded at their own risk and blamed others for their infringement.”