The Eminem trial

The Herald reports:

The Party spent $4800 on the music used in their 2014 campaign ad – music which as been labelled a “blatant rip-off” of Eminem’s hit rap song Lose Yourself.

The campaign manager for the election that year, Jo de Joux, gave evidence in the High Court at Wellington this afternoon, saying the party sought “complete assurances” there was no risk of infringement when using the track Eminem Esque in their campaign video.

When the clip was played to staff, one suggested the song sounded like Eminem’s Lose Yourself, and de Joux was concerned about the association with the rapper as he had been associated with hate speech at the time, she told the court.

She also asked the production company that sourced the track for them to make sure it was safe for the party to use the music.

Marketing consultant Peter Moore, who was part of the production company set up for that year’s election campaign, said he made a number of enquiries and was informed the party would not be at risk.

He was told if the party legally bought the music from a production library and it held an Apra Amcos licence, it would be fine.

He said he was “embarrassed” to be asking the different groups about the safety of using the track.

“[They] couldn’t understand why I was asking about the appropriateness of using production music if they come from a recognised production library.

This will be an interesting case. I have a deep interest in copyright law, and of course politics.

The case will presumably determine if the song used was a “copy” of Lose Yourself or merely similar to it.  In the music industry it is very common for songs to be partly based on other music. How similiar you can be will be a key issue in the case, and may provide a precedent for future cases.

If the court does find the song used by National infringed copyright, I suspect they will then seek to recover any damages from the production library they purchased rights to the song they did use. The production library would have warranted that they had rights to that song, which National relied on – even explicitly checking.

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