Eminem Sues New Zealand’s National Party for Copyright Infringement

Detroit-based Eight Mile Style, LLC and Martin Affiliated, LLC, the music publishers of Eminem’s “Lose Yourself,” filed a copyright infringement suit against New Zealand’s National Party.  According to Joel Martin, a spokesperson for both companies, New Zealand’s ruling party used the song in a political campaign commercial without authorization.

The party allegedly used the song in a TV advertisement in its efforts to support the reelection of Prime Minister John Key.  Rejecting the allegations, Prime Minister Key responded that the party did not intentionally infringe on copyright.  In fact, the party claimed it purchased the music from Beatbox, an Australian music supplier, through APRA/AMCOS, an entity similar to ASCAP in the U.S.  Despite its ‘legitimate’ purchase of the music, the party could still be found liable.

Marin further stated that “‘Lose Yourself’ is one of the most iconic copyrights in the world and the song’s publishers have rarely authorized its use to advertise products . . . [and] they would never allow it to be used in connection with any political campaign.”

The party discontinued using the tune in the advertisement two weeks ago when the publishers complained.  Further, Beatbox notified its clients today via email that “effective immediately” it no longer holds the license rights of the song and advised them to remove the song from their collection.

One legal expert estimated the damages to be a five-figure sum although it would likely be covered under an indemnity clause which is typical in a license agreement like the one between the party and Beatbox.  Additionally, because such agreement also routinely contains a warranty that states the use of the music would not infringe on any copyright, the party could go after Beatbox.


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