Eminem gets his day in court over claims that New Zealand’s National Party used his hit song Lose Yourself
without permission in a 2014 campaign video.
Various Kiwi news outlets are reporting that the trial will begin 1 May 2017 at the Wellington High Court. According to TVNZ
, the trial is expected to last for three weeks.
Representatives of Eight Mile Style, Eminem’s publisher, and lawyers for the National Party were at the High Court on Friday for a private hearing, The New Zealand Herald
Eight Mile Style and Martin Affiliated sued the party in 2014 alleging “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.”
A spokesperson said in 2014 they had never allowed the song to be used for any political campaign, reported Radio NZ
However, the party claims they had licensed to use the backing track to the 2014 video, getting “library music” from Beatbox, an Australia- and Singapore-based production music supplier.
“We think these guys are just having a crack and have a bit of an eye for the main chance because it's an election campaign,” said National Party campaign manager Steven Joyce in 2014.
Eminem isn’t the only popular artist who has claimed unauthorised use of their song in a political campaign.
After the Republican National Convention in July, the band Queen told Donald Trump’s use of the song We Are The Champions
on opening day was unauthorised.
Adele, Neil Young, REM and Steven Tyler had also told the Trump campaign to stop using their songs. Bruce Springsteen also famously complained about Ronald Reagan’s use of Born in the USA
Performing rights organisations typically have the authority to license songs to be used in events such as political rallies via political entities licenses.
To license for use in ads, politicians or political parties would need to contact the song’s publisher and in some cases the artist’s label as well.
Through the copyright of the song, an artist may choose to ban certain or all politicians and parties from using their work.