Eminem’s rap battle with New Zealand’s National Party over its election advertisement is set to have its day in court.
The chart-topping US rapper is suing National for allegedly using his track Lose Yourself in its election campaign ads without permission.
Representatives for the rapper’s publisher Eight Mile Style and lawyers for the political party are due in the High Court at Wellington today for a private hearing.
The National Party has flatly rejected the allegation it used the title track from the Eight Mile film, with campaign manager Steven Joyce saying in September he thought the use of the song was “pretty legal”.
“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,” he told reporters at the time.
The election well and truly over, but Eight Mile Style is still seeking damages for copyright infringement.
It claims “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”.
In September, spokesman for the publishers Joel Martin said Eminem was never approached for permission to use his work in National’s rowing-themed election ads, which featured backing music similar to the riff of Lose Yourself.
“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 three strikes copyright reforms should itself have so little regard for copyright,” he said at the time.
The National Party said the music came from an Australian-based production outfit and it had been used by others without complaint.
It’s not the first time Eminem has launched legal action over copyright infringement.
In 2004, he sued Apple for using an Eminem song in one of its television commercials without permission.