Tuesday 16th September 2014
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US rapper Eminem is suing the New Zealand National Party for alleged copyright infringement over unauthorised use of the rapper's 'Lose Yourself' song in the party's election campaign advertisement.
Eight Mile Style and Martin Affiliated, the Detroit-based publishers of the rapper's music, filed proceedings in the Wellington High Court, seeking damages for copyright infringement against the National Party, the publishers said in a statement. Eminem's 'Lose Yourself' featured on the rapper's '8 Mile' movie and the publishers allege National's television campaign ads feature the song without authorisation.
The proceedings come after the National Prime Minister John Key published declassified cabinet papers showing plans for cyber security, in part in a bid to protect intellectual property.
"It is both disappointing and sadly ironic that the political party responsible for championing the rights of music publishers in New Zealand by the introduction of the three strikes copyright reforms should itself have so little regard for copyright," the publisher's spokesman, Joel Martin, said. "We do not hesitate to take immediate action to protect the integrity of Eminem's works, particularly where a party, as here, has sought to associate itself with Eminem and his work."
In a statement, the National Party rejected the allegation and will be "defending the action vigorously". The party said it had received the complaint two weeks ago and undertook not to continue using the track as it coincided with a change in their advertising tack. The track used has similar backing music without the words.
The party said it bought the music from production music supplier Beatbox and had been assured by the library music service the music did not infringe any copyright and was an original work. The music licence and fee were arranged through the Australasian Performing Rights Association and Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society, which exists to "protect the rights of artists" and the music had been licenced multiple times both in Australia and New Zealand without complaint in the past, it said.
"It appears, though, that the National Party is the only organisation that has used this material that is being legally targeted," the party said.
The publishers said Hudson Gavin Martin and Garry Wiulliams of Richmond Chambers will act on their behalf.
New Zealand's general election is on Saturday.
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