UPDATED: A New Zealand court awarded $600,000 (around $415,000 U.S.) to Eight Mile Style, the publishers who control Eminem’s early catalog, in a copyright case against the country’s National party, which used a song deemed similiar to his hit “Lose Yourself” in a 2014 election advertisement, according to a report in The Guardian. (Listen to the track below.)
The publishers filed suit against the party in September 2014 for its use of the song, which was created by a production house and is actually titled “Eminem Esque.” The court ruled Wednesday (Oct. 25) that the track was “sufficiently similar” to Eminem’s original song and that it impinged on copyright. “Eminem Esque has substantially copied ‘Lose Yourself,’” the ruling says.
“The differences between the two works are minimal; the close similarities and the indiscernible differences in drum beat, the ‘melodic line’ and the piano figures make ‘Eminem Esque’ strikingly similar to ‘Lose Yourself,’” the ruling reads in part.
A rep for Eminem, however, noted Thursday that the rapper was not involved in the lawsuit. “Eminem was not a party to this lawsuit nor was he consulted regarding the case,” the rep said. “Any monetary settlement he receives from it will be donated to hurricane relief. He encourages the plaintiffs, 8 Mile Style, to do the same.”
Attorney Garry Williams, representing the publishers, noted that the song is rarely licensed and that it is a “jewel in the crown of Eminem’s catalogue.” Indeed, the song, which was the centerpiece of “Eight Mile,” Eminem’s semi-autobiographical acting debut, won both an Oscar and a Grammy and was the rapper’s longest-reigning chart hit to date, topping the Billboard Hot 100 for 12 weeks beginning in November 2002.
Joel Martin, who spoke on behalf of the publishers, said the rapper was not asked for permission to use the song. “We find it incredible that the National party went to such great lengths to avoid responsibility for using a weak rip-off of ‘Lose Yourself,’” he said. “They knew we would not have permitted the use of the song in their political advertisement; however, they proceeded at their own risk and blamed others for their infringement.”
The National party strongly rejected the allegation at the time of the filing and said the backing track came from an Australian-based production outfit. At press time it had not yet commented on the ruling.