From dance floors to party halls, Eminem’s music has now made it to the courtrooms as well. However, not in the way, one might normally perceive it.
Eminem has recently dragged the New Zealand's governing National Party, to court by claiming copyright infringement over their campaign ad. The ad in question consists of a guitar riff reminiscent, which is also alleged to be the opening of Eminem's biggest hit 'Lose Yourself'; the defendant National Party, does not deny it, but rather claims ignorance, rendering the infringement to be accidental. They also stated that the party had bought this song, titled 'Eminem Esque', from stock music library BeatBox.
This case is currently being heard in a court in Wellington. But the unique part about this case is that the stone-faced, black-suited lawyers had to solemnly listen to 'Lose Yourself' and its derivative being played several times. Jeff Bass, who lives near Detroit and traveled to New Zealand to testify, picked up an acoustic guitar and strummed the famous riff that opens the Oscar-winning 2002 song in front of eight lawyers and a judge in the courtroom.
A lawyer for Eminem’s music publishers Eight Mile Style said 'Lose Yourself' was "iconic" and "without a doubt the jewel in the crown of Eminem's musical work".
The case began on Monday, May 2nd and is set to continue for six days. “Eminem-esque was found quickly because the track has ‘Eminem’ in the title. So it was easy to find if you were looking for something that sounded like ‘Lose Yourself',” reported Eminem’s lawyer Gary Williams.
Eminem had originally filed the suit in 2014, where the National Party had denied any possibility of infringement. The defendants believed that the approval to use the track came from an Australian-based production music library Beatbox Music. A spokesman for Eminem’s publishers, Eight Mile Style, told reporters they would have "never permitted the use of the song in any political advertisement. We are Americans and we don’t know about politics in New Zealand.”
On the other hand, the lawyer for the National Party, Greg Arthur told BBC that copyright was “not in any way proven by the name given to a piece of music”.
The 2014 ad campaign portrays a boat filled with people rowing together. The activity was intended to symbolize unity, and the greater strength, while the playback music is claimed to be the copyright infringed track.
The final verdict shall be announced anytime soon. Stay tuned.