Eminem walks away the victor.
Earlier this year, Eminem's lawsuit against New Zealand's National Party went to trial. The rapper and his publishing company were taking legal action over the use of a "Lose Yourself" knock-off that was used in a commercial for the conservative political party's bid at re-election. You can hear some of the sonic similarities in the video below.
The copyright infringement was felt to be unmissable, but the defense for the National Party put forth the notion that the original composition "lacked originality" and could easily have been replicated by a composer who had no prior knowledge of the legendary hip-hop single. This morning, the news was made official that the judge wasn't on the side of the political group, stating that they breached copyright by inserting the “Lose Yourself” soundalike in their campaign ads.
According to Billboard, High Court Judge Helen Cull has ordered the National Party to pay the emcee's publisher 600,000 New Zealand dollars plus interest. That works out to approximately $415,000 U.S. dollars. “We think it’s a very strong judgment, and a cautionary tale for people who make or use sound-alikes around the world,” said Adam Simpson, the man who represented Eminem publisher Eight Mile Style during this case. “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.” 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."
“They could have said anything but question its originality,” he said. National Party President Peter Goodfellow stated that he was disappointed with the judge's decision, seeing as the group had bought the music in good faith from an Australia-based outlet, who in turn got their content from the United States. 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.
Cull stopped short of hitting up the National Party for additional damages, stating that they had acted on professional advice that led to them including the song in the advertisement. According to her, the party had not acted in a reckless fashion. There has been no decision on who will be responsible for paying the legal costs.