NZ party to pay damages to Eminem

Kelley Robertson
October 26, 2017

Now in a just-released decision, the High Court has ruled the similarities between Lose Yourself and Eminem Esque were so strong, it breached copyright.

New Zealand's High Court issued its decision early Wednesday (Oct. 25), ordering the country's conservative National Party to pay Eight Mile Style, Eminem's publishing company, $600,000 NZ dollars (about $415,000 USA dollars) in damages over the 2014 campaign spot, below, which used a copycat version of the rapper's song "Lose Yourself" without consent.

The party has been ordered pay more than $400,000 to Eminem for using music similar to his 2002 hit "Lose Yourself" during their campaign.

The High Court has awarded $600,000 to Eight Mile Style which published the song, the fee being the "hypothetical licence fee" since 2014 if they had been given permission to use the song for their advertising. The hearing, which took place in May, even made it to Last Week Tonight, where John Oliver detailed the ridiculousness of a courtroom seriously analyzing the lyrics to "Lose Yourself".

A pop music expert is warning people of using "sound-alike" tracks sold by commercial operators.


High Court judge Helen Cull said the campaign song sounded like a copy and was a copy.

"Eminem Esque clearly stepped over the line".

Goodfellow said National "purchased the piece of production music from a reputable Australian-based music production library, who had purchased it from a United States supplier". "Eminem Esque has substantially copied 'Lose Yourself, '" the ruling says.

The National Party said it was disappointed with the ruling. It was calculated and intentional. When reached for comment via phone, Eight Mile Style's publisher Joel Martin noted that he was initially incensed by the notion that "Lose Yourself" was being targeted as "unoriginal". Being licensed and available for purchase, and having taken advice from our suppliers, the party believed the purchase was legal.

He said the party was considering its next steps and had already lodged a claim against the suppliers and licensors of the sound-alike track.

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