Peak cray cray in this election must be approaching.
I blogged previously on how the song chosen by National for its campaign theme sounded suspiciously like Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” and I wondered if National had breached copyright attached to the song.
It appears that Eminem thinks so too. From Stuff:
In proceedings filed today in the Wellington Registry of the High Court of New Zealand, Eight Mile Style, LLC and Martin Affiliated, LLC, the Detroit-based publishers of Eminem’s copyrights, are seeking damages for copyright infringement against the New Zealand National Party. The proceedings stem from allegations that unauthorised use has been made of Eminem’s Grammy and Academy Award winning song, “Lose Yourself”, in election campaign advertising run by the National Party in the lead up to the 2014 New Zealand General Election which is to take place on 20 September 2014.
Joel Martin, speaking on behalf of the publishers, said: “The claim we have filed alleges copyright infringement. Eminem’s publishers were not approached for permission to use any of Eminem’s songs for this campaign advertisement. 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 3 strikes copyright reforms should itself have so little regard for copyright. 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.”
“Lose Yourself” is one of the most iconic copyrights in the world and the song’s publishers have rarely authorised its use to advertise products and have said that they would never allow it to be used in connection with any political campaign.
This suggests that National’s claim that it had a right to use the song is as truthful as its claim that New Zealanders are not being subject to mass surveillance. From a previous Stuff article:
National Party campaign manager Steven Joyce said the music had been bought and licensed through an Australian-based organisation which had full rights to it.
The party had also undertaken its own checks to ensure there were no copyright issues.
“Some people are saying it’s similar and that and that’s fine for them but it’s just a commercial track which we’ve used in the campaign.”
Joyce said he was “very relaxed” about the choice of music and denied any association with Eminem.
“Nobody has raised concerns with us about it.”
I wonder if Joyce is as relaxed now as he was previously?
And why is it that right wing parties who are meant to champion freedom and respect for property rights so often act in breach of both?
Update: There are a couple of thorny issues posed if Eminem wins. Firstly the judgment would presumably be an election expense and have to be added to National’s return of expenses. It must hope that it is not too close to the maximum.
Secondly if it loses it would have spent more than was allocated for the purpose of the advertisement by the Electoral Commission. As Mike Smith points out this may be significant. National has had problems in the past when it previously overspent its allocation.
Update2: Dotcom is offering to help …
Hey John Key, I know some pretty good copyright lawyers, give me a call 🙂
— Kim Dotcom (@KimDotcom) September 16, 2014