New Zealand party loses copyright suit over Eminem rip-off | News | DW | 25.10.2017
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New Zealand

New Zealand party loses copyright suit over Eminem rip-off

The National Party must now pay hundreds of thousands in damages to publisher Eight Mile Style for using a song called "Eminem Esque." The judge ruled that it was a blatant copy of the US rapper's hit "Lose Yourself."

After being forced out of government when the opposition struck a coalition deal, New Zealand's National Party was handed its second defeat in a week on Wednesday after losing a copyright lawsuit to the publisher for US rapper Eminem.

The party now has to pay 600,000 New Zealand dollars ($414,000) in damages for using a song called "Eminem Esque," hundreds of times during its sucessful 2014 election campaign, after the judge ruled that it sounded too much like the rapper's hit "Lose Yourself."

National Party President Peter Goodfellow maintained that his organization had not done anything illegal.

"We purchased the piece of production music from a reputable Australian-based music production library, who had purchased it from a US supplier," Goodfellow said in a statement.

"We already have a claim against the suppliers and licensors of the track."

Courtroom rap

Judge Helen Cull said that it was no coincidence that the composer of "Eminem Esque" had the music for "Lose Yourself" in front of him when he wrote the rip-off. She noted that the lyrics to the song seemed to foreshadow the court battle.

"And prophetically so rapped Eminem: You better lose yourself in the music, the moment. You own it, you better never let it go," Cull said.

The damages she awarded were based on what the National Party might have paid for a legitimate license fee.

Cull noted that publisher Eight Mile Style rarely licenses the song, but stopped short of awarding additional damages, agreeing with defense lawyers that the National Party had received professional advice to use the song.

es/se (AP, dpa)

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