Eminem’s New Zealand Copyright Lawsuit Concludes

Live guitar and "La Bamba" in court.

By Hayden Wright

Eminem’s lawsuit against the New Zealand National Party came to a close on Friday, after the court heard a mixture of sounds and arguments related to “Lose Yourself.” The party used a track in a 2014 political ad titled “Eminem-esque,” which they purchased from a stock music company. Eminem and his attorneys argued that “Eminem-esque” was a bit too Eminem-esque to be legal.

Related: Eminem Sues New Zealand’s National Party Over ‘Lose Yourself’

An attorney for the party said the sound-alike industry of stock mp3 files is well-established, with the express goal of avoiding copyright infringement.

“It doesn’t make it legitimate because somebody hasn’t yet sued,” the judge said, according to Billboard. “It’s a question of whether it is so alike that a sound-alike is crossing the line and becomes copyright infringement.”

In one exhibit, the court listened to “La Bamba” and “Twist and Shout,” presumably a textbook exhibit of cribbing a song’s composition. Jeff Bass, the Detroit-area guitarist who played the famous opening riffs on “Lose Yourself,” testified with his guitar — and insisted the stock track was a “blatant rip-off.”

In one bizarre moment, Judge Helen Cull said, “[Turn it up.] I’m not shy of loud music.” It may take several months for the case to be decided.


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