Slim Shady has successfully sued the crap out of the Kiwi party, winning a drawn-out legal saga today, which has seen the High Court of Wellington forced to blast rap music on repeat.
As The Guardian reports, the court ruled that the party’s use of a track labelled ‘Eminem Esque’ was “sufficiently similar” to Em’s OG 8 Mile anthem that it infringed on its copyright, and has ordered the Nationals to pay the rapper the equivalent of AU$535,000 for the breach.
“‘Eminem Esque’ has substantially copied ‘Lose Yourself’,” the ruling states.
“The differences between the two works are minimal; the close similarities and the indiscernible differences in drum beat, the ‘melodic line’ and the piano figures make ‘Eminem Esque’ strikingly similar to ‘Lose Yourself’. ‘Eminem Esque’ substantially reproduces the essence of ‘Lose Yourself’. The parts of ‘Eminem Esque’ used in the National party’s campaign advertisements also substantially reproduce ‘Lose Yourself’.”
The National party ad featuring the rip-off tune was played 186 times on New Zealand TV during the 2014 campaign over an 11-day period.
As Em’s lawyers previously explained to the court, the rip-off was especially damaging since the OG track itself has rarely been licensed for commercial use.
“Its commercial exploitation is tightly managed to protect the integrity of the work,” lawyer Gary Williams said. “It’s known in the advertising industry that ‘Lose Yourself’ is not commonly available.”
While speaking today, another one of the solicitors repping Shady and Detroit-based record companies Eight Mile Style and Martin Affiliated, Adam Simpson, said the ruling was significant for musical copyright infringements across the globe.
“This decision is a warning to soundalike music producers and their clients everywhere,” he said. “The ruling clarifies and confirms the rights of artists and songwriters. It sets a major precedent in New Zealand and will be influential in Australia, the UK and elsewhere.”
As for the NZ National Party, they’ve strongly rejected the allegation and tried to pass the buck to an Aussie production company who supplied them with the track in the first place.
But it didn’t do them much good, with Justice Helen Cull still holding them accountable.
“’Eminem Esque’ sounds like a copy and is a copy of ‘Lose Yourself’,” she said.
Check the (minimal) differences between the two tracks for yourself, below.