Eminem has won a landmark case in musical copyright, after a New Zealand political party was found guilty of ‘ripping off’ his 2002 hit ‘Lose Yourself’.
The conservative National Party’s successful 2014 election campaign saw the party run an advert (below) backed by a track titled ‘Eminem Esque’, which bears multiple musical and tonal similarities to ‘Lose Yourself’. The advert was run 186 times throughout the campaign, before being pulled. Eminem and his publisher Eight Mile Style subsequently sued, accusing the track of being a rip off.
Now, Eminem and Eight Mile Style have won their case, with New Zealand High Court Judge Helen Cull ruling in favour of the rapper and ordering the National Party to pay NZ$600,000 (£314,000), plus interest, to Eminem’s publishing company.
As part of the investigation, it was revealed that the composer to ‘Eminem Esque’ had the music to ‘Lose Yourself’ in front of him as he wrote the track in question.
Highlighting the irony in Eminem’s own lyrics to ‘Lose Yourself’, Cull said: “And prophetically so rapped Eminem: ‘You better lose yourself in the music, the moment. You own it, you better never let it go.'”
The ruling could prove to be a landmark moment in musical copyright, hinting at broader implications for those who use ‘soundalike’ tracks in commercial operations.
Back in April, Tame Impala‘s Kevin Parker called out a Chinese milk company for ripping off his ‘Currents’ track ‘The Less I Know The Better’.
Taking to Instagram, Parker shared footage of the commercial for a blueberry milk drink – with a soundtrack that’s strikingly similar to the song from their acclaimed third album.
Parker accompanied the video with the caption “I mean COME ON GUYS – at least put some effort in”, as well as tagging Tame Impala’s publishing company Sony ATV with the hashtag #Lawsuit and ‘now it’s my turn’.