Eminem wins copyright case against New Zealand political party

The conservative National Party was ordered to pay NZ$600,000 (S$560,000) plus interest in damages for breaching copyright by using music similar to American rapper Eminem's hit track Lose Yourself.
The conservative National Party was ordered to pay NZ$600,000 (S$560,000) plus interest in damages for breaching copyright by using music similar to American rapper Eminem's hit track Lose Yourself.PHOTO: REUTERS

AUCKLAND (Bloomberg) - American rapper Eminem has won a court case against a New Zealand political party for using music similar to his hit track Lose Yourself in a television commercial.

New Zealand's High Court on Wednesday found that the conservative National Party had breached copyright in a 2014 election campaign advertisement and ordered it to pay NZ$600,000 (S$560,000) plus interest in damages.

The court ruling comes less than a week after National was ousted from government in the latest election.

"This decision is a warning to 'sound-alike' music producers and their clients everywhere," said Mr Adam Simpson, director of Simpsons Solicitors, who acted for Eminem's music company Eight Mile Style.

"The ruling clarifies and confirms the rights of artists and songwriters. It sets a major precedent in New Zealand and will be influential in Australia, Britain and elsewhere."

National said it believed it had purchased the music, titled Eminem Esque, legally as it came from a reputable Australian-based music production library.

However, the High Court said the track "substantially copied" Lose Yourself.

"National is disappointed with today's High Court decision," president Peter Goodfellow said. "The party is now considering the implications of the judgment and the next steps. We already have a claim against the suppliers and licensors of the track."