Oct 25, 2017

Eminem's success against NZ political party

Eminem, the American award-winning rapper, songwriter and producer, has been the latest artist to have copyright in his music infringed. The Judgment from a May 2017 trial in a copyright lawsuit in the High Court of New Zealand was published today and it is a victory for the rapper.

The track at the centre of the dispute is Eminem's critically acclaimed 'Lose Yourself', which won the rapper an Academy Award in 2003 and two Grammy's in 2004. Ten years later, in 2014, the New Zealand National Party used a similar sounding track in their campaign video. Subsequently,  the rapper's publisher, Eight Mile Style, filed a lawsuit.

The National Party argued at court that the track used in their campaign advertisement was not 'Lose Yourself' but actually a track independently produced by a Michael Cohen entitled 'Eminem Esque' and commercially licensed by the party. Legal representatives for Eight Mile Style stated that the track was a clear infringement of 'Lose Yourself'. The lawsuit involved analysis of the two tracks by musicologists, in a trial that lasted two weeks.

The Judge considered different elements of the two tracks, including the drum beat, the melodic line and piano figures, in order to measure the similarities, before concluding that the track was sufficiently similar to, and the parts taken constituted a substantial part of, the copyright in 'Lose Yourself'. There had therefore been an infringement of copyright.  Eight Mile Style was subsequently awarded damages of NZ$600,000 plus interest.

The case is the latest in a series of copyright cases in the music industry where the Courts have had to establish if a similar sounding piece of music infringes copyright.

Posted by: in: Copyright, News

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