Eminem Publishers Sue New Zealand Political Party for Copyright Infringement

Eight Mile Style and Martin Affiliated claim the rapper’s 2002 hit “Lose Yourself” was used without permission in an election ad for Prime Minister John Key

Last Updated: September 16, 2014 @ 11:35 AM

The publishing companies that hold the copyright to Eminem‘s music library have filed a lawsuit against New Zealand’s National Party.

The political party allegedly used Eminem‘s song, “Lose Yourself” — a 2002 single that was featured on the “8 Mile” soundtrack — in a campaign ad for Prime Minister John Key.

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Eight Mile Style and Martin Affiliated, both based in Detroit, filed the complaint seeking damages in the Wellington registry of New Zealand’s high court.

“It is both disappointing and sadly ironic that the political party responsible for championing the rights of music publishers in New Zealand by the introduction of the three strikes copyright reforms should itself have so little regard for copyright,” a spokesman for the two companies said in a statement to the media. “We do not hesitate to take immediate action to protect the integrity of Eminem‘s works.”

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The National Party has vowed to “vigorously” defend itself against the lawsuit, as it claims the music used was originally published by Spider Cues Music in Los Angeles and sold to it by an Australian-based supplier.

Upon being notified about the possible copyright infringement complaint two weeks ago, the party removed the song from the rowing-themed election ad. Still, the publishers are seeking damages.

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“The National Party completely rejects the allegation that the library music used in its early campaign advertisements is a copyright infringement of any artist’s work,” the party said in a statement. “The National party will be defending this action vigorously. As the matter is now before the courts we will not be making any further public comment.”

Eminem‘s publishers have gone to battle over his songs in the past.

In 2004, they filed a lawsuit against Apple for the using one of his tunes in an iTunes commercial, and came after the digital distributor again in 2009 when they claimed copyright violations of over 90 songs because they never approved a deal Apple made with Eminem‘s label Aftermath.

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Just last year the publishers also sued Facebook and an ad agency for allegedly copying Eminem‘s 2000 song “Under the Influence.”