16 Sep 2014

Eminem suing Nats for campaign song

6:36 pm on 16 September 2014

The National Party is facing another hurdle in its campaign, with the music publishers behind the US rap giant Eminem deciding to pursue legal action over the party's use of a song in its campaign advertisement.

Eminem performing earlier this year in Chicago, Illinois.

Eminem performing earlier this year in Chicago, Illinois. Photo: AFP

Ever since its first broadcast, National's rowing-themed video has elicited comparisons to Eminem's award-winning rap anthem, Lose Yourself.

Today, the Detroit-based publishers, Eight Mile Style and Martin Affiliated, lodged proceedings in the High Court in Wellington, seeking damages for copyright infringement.

A spokesperson for the publishers, Joel Martin said they had never allowed the song to be used in connection with any political campaign.

The publishers will be represented by the New Zealand legal firm, Hudson Gavin Martin, and the intellectual property lawyer, Garry Williams.

The National Party completely rejects the allegation.

The party describes the music as library music and says it purchased it from recognised production music supplier "Beatbox", based in Australia and Singapore.

National says it was assured the music in question did not infringe any copyright and was an original work.

National's campaign manager Steven Joyce said it received a complaint two weeks ago and stopped using the track, but this had not satisfied the complainant.

He said the work in question has been licensed multiple times both in Australia and New Zealand without issue or complaint and it appears National is the only organisation that has used this material that is being legally targeted.

Mr Joyce told reporters today that he believes the publishers are just trying to rake up publicity and possibly money.

The National Party says it will be defending the action vigourously, but as the matter is now before the courts it will not make any further public comment.

This is the second time that the National Party has been in hot water about music choices during campaigns.

In 2008 the party was forced to pull close to 20,000 DVDs featuring a music track similar to a song by the band Coldplay because the EMI record company raised concerns.

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