New Zealand National party appeals order to pay Eminem $600,000 in copyright battle

The National party in New Zealand is refusing to move on from the copyright fight with the Grammy award-winning rapper Eminem aka Marshal Mather’s, arguing that in a decision by the high court ordering it to pay the singer NZ$600,000 ($400,000 USD) is too high.

In October last year the court had awarded the rapper’s publisher NZ$600,000 in damages. The New Zealand’s high court had ruled that the National party had infringed on the singer’s copyright when it used refrains from his song Lose Yourself in a campaign ad.

Marshall Mather’s filed proceedings against New Zealand’s party in September 2014 for using a version of his chart topping song lose yourself in a election campaign advertisement. The advertisement featuring a track called Eminem Esque was played over 186 times on a television during the 2014 election campaign over a 11-day period.

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On October 25th the court rule the the National party uses of the track was “sufficiently similar” to Eminem’s original song that impinged on copyright and that ‘Lose Yourself; was a highly original wok.

Last Tuesday the National party’s lawyer Greg Arthur appeared in court to appeal to argue the penalty imposed by the high court was to high and harsh, and the “hypothetical License fee” of NZ$600,000 was not proportionate to the breach as the advertisement played on the New Zealand’s television.

The outcome of the appeal has now been reserved, meaning it could take weeks or even months for a decision. The October ruling last year stated; “ Eminem Esque has substantially copied Lose Yourself.”

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“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.”

Lose Yourself is from the hit box office movie 8 Mile, which won an Academy award for best original song in 2003 and a Grammy for best rap song in 2004.

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