New Zealand’s main conservative political party has been ordered to pay Eminem £315,000 for “copying” one of his songs in a campaign ad.
The National Party ran a television ad that used the song “Eminem Esque” 186 times during its successful 2014 election campaign before pulling the clip.
Publisher Eight Mile Style sued, saying the track ripped off the rapper’s acclaimed 2002 hit Lose Yourself.
High Court judge Helen Cull said the campaign song sounded like a copy and was a copy.
She said it was no coincidence the composer of Eminem Esque had the music to Lose Yourself in front of him when he wrote his song.
She added: “And prophetically so rapped Eminem: You better lose yourself in the music, the moment. You own it, you better never let it go.”
The judge based the amount of the award on a hypothetical licence fee that the party might have paid to use the song – although Eight Mile Style rarely grants permission to use Lose Yourself in advertising.
She stopped short of awarding additional damages, saying the party had only used the song after receiving professional advice that it could do so, and had not acted recklessly.
The National Party said it was disappointed with the ruling.
The party’s president Peter Goodfellow said: “We purchased the piece of production music from a reputable Australian-based music production library, who had purchased it from a US supplier.”
He said the party was considering its next steps and already had lodged a claim against the suppliers and licence holders of the Eminem Esque track.