1 May 2017

Court battle over Eminem's 'Lose Yourself'

2:28 pm on 1 May 2017

The trial of the century has begun!


Who will win?

Who will win? Photo: Unknown

Back in the fluffy, frivolous time that was 2014, the National Party used a song in a campaign advert that sounded a little bit familiar. Some may have been distracted by the rowers. “What the fuck has this got to do with rowing” they might have said. To the aurally acute, however, something far more significant was amiss: the song used in the advert was curiously reminiscent of of US rapper Eminem’s seminal work Lose Yourself.

Hear that? Eminem’s music publisher, Eight Mile Style, heard it too and efficiently proceeded to sue the National Party and others for breaching copyright.

As the New Zealand Herald sagely noted, “rap isn't usually played in court”, but today the advert’s tinny tune and Eminem's own corker of a beat were played side-by-side and Eight Mile Style’s lawyer Garry Williams began to present his case. Suffice to say he was not pleased.

"The song Lose Yourself, is without doubt the jewel in the crown of Eminem's musical work. 

"Not only did the song win an Academy Award for best original song in a movie, it also won two Grammy awards.”

Lest this not drive the point all the way home, Williams continued.

"In short, Lose Yourself is an extremely valuable song.

"The licensing of the song has been extremely carefully controlled. Despite many requests, it has only rarely been licensed for advertising purposes.

"When licensed, it can command in the millions of dollars. That's how valuable it is."

Do you understand how valuable this song is?

Imagine, if you will, arriving home to find your most special party dress being worn and stretched and stained by someone you don’t even know. Discovering your beloved talking parrot had been taught a torrid word. Learning that your favourite piece of clean white paper had been crudely folded into a piece of barely recognisable origami by the grimy unwashed hands of a madman.

Did our leading political party, as Williams alleges, besmirch Eminem’s most precious accolade? Or is it, as Steven Joyce previously claimed, “pretty legal”? With an estimated six days left for trial, only time will tell!