Week's Oddest Suit: Eminem vs. New Zealand's Ruling Party

'Lose Yourself' copyright is at the heart of it all
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 1, 2017 7:51 AM CDT

They may not have lost themselves in the music or the moment but a judge and nine lawyers in a New Zealand courtroom did listen politely to Eminem's "Lose Yourself" as a copyright trial involving the country's ruling political party began Monday. The Detroit-based music publishers for Eminem are suing New Zealand's conservative National Party, alleging the soundtrack for a 2014 election campaign ad copied the rapper's acclaimed 2002 song, reports the AP. Things potentially in the rapper's favor: The party's song is titled "Eminem Esque," and Eminem's music publishers, Eight Mile Style, have an email from an agent for the National Party that reads, "If everyone thinks it's Eminem, and it's listed as Eminem Esque, how can we be confident that Eminem doesn't say we're ripping him off?"

The party says it purchased the track through an Australian-based supplier and doesn't believe it has infringed anyone's copyright. In 2014, when the case was filed, lawmaker Steven Joyce said he thought the use of the song was "pretty legal," a response that was widely ridiculed, including by John Oliver on Last Week Tonight: "Pretty legal? That's not a concept that exists. That's like being sort-of dead." A rep for Eight Mile Style expressed surprise the two sides hadn't settled and said going to trial against an entity like a governing political party was unusual and extraordinary. He said the political views of the National Party were not a factor: "We are Americans and we don't know about politics in New Zealand." The publishers want an undisclosed amount of cash and an acknowledgement by the court that the National Party breached copyright. (Read more Eminem stories.)

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