Eminem Sues New Zealand Political Party Over Lose Yourself Advert
Eminem is taking New Zealand’s ruling political party to court after claiming they used his music in a TV advert without permission.
The rapper accused the National Party of using an unlicensed version of his hit song Lose Yourself in a 2014 campaign video.
Eminem’s lawyer Garry Williams said the party breached copyright of a song owned by Eight Mile Style, Eminem’s publisher.
Calling the song “iconic”, Williams told the High Court in Wellington that rights to the work were “enormously valuable”, since it had won two Academy Awards and two Grammys.
The campaign director for the National Party – led by Prime Minister Bill English – dismissed Eminem’s claim when the row first erupted in 2014.
“We think it’s pretty legal, I think these guys are just having a crack,” Steven Joyce told reporters at the time.
Lose Yourself was the soundtrack to Eminem’s 2002 film 8 Mile and went on to top the charts in 24 countries.
According to Williams, it deals with “the idea of losing yourself in the moment and not missing opportunities in life”.
“That’s why the song appeals to both the public and those who wish to influence the public by using it in advertising,” he said.
He did not specify what damages they were seeking.
The party’s lawyers will argue the tune used was not in fact Lose Yourself, but a generic track loosely based on it, bought from production music supplier Beatbox.
They are expected to contend that any copyright infringement was accidental in a judge-only hearing scheduled to last for six days.
Eminem is not the first artist to have complained about the unwelcome use of his tracks by a political party or candidate.
Just last year, the then presidential candidate Donald Trump came under fire by musicians such as The Rolling Stones, Adele, Neil Young, REM, Bruce Springsteen, Elton John, The Backstreet Boys and Queen.