Eminem’s publishers take on Facebook

June 2013

Music publishing


Eminem’s song publisher Eight Mile Style have accused Facebook and it’s ad agency Wieden+Kennedy tof copyright infringement, saying that a short Facebook advert copied music from Eminem’s 2000 song Under the Influence. The advertisement, broadcast during a launch event for the feature called ‘Airplane’, was distributed and streamed all over the world. Fans of the rapper noticed the similarities between the music in the Facebook “Home“ advert and ‘Under The Influence’, and the legal team for Eight Mile Style quickly sent Wieden+Kennedy a cease and desist letter. The plaintiffs allege that the music contained in the Airplane advertisement infringes the worldwide copyright in the Eminem/D12 composition as the music is substantially similar.”

Eight Mile Style said that th believed W+K used the music to ingratiate themselves with Facebook boss Matk Zuckerberg, an apparent fan of Eminem (something suggested by a teenage webpage created by the Facebook boss that re-emerged online last month), saying “W+K incorporated said music into the Airplane advertisement in an effort to curry favour with Facebook by catering to Zuckerberg’s personal likes and interest, and/or to invoke the same irreverent theme as the Eminem/D12 composition.”

The publisher claims that W+K changed the music for the ad on Facebook’s YouTube channel later in April because it and Facebook knew they were “facing substantial liability”. Eight Mile Style also alleges that W+K’s attorneys tried to fob it off with a letter “brimming with bellicose language and replete with gross factual inaccuracies: In the letter, W+K’s counsel claimed that Dr Dre actually composed Under the Influence and then went on to accuse him of a “long, well-documented history of copyright infringement”, suggesting that the song actually originated from one of Michael Jackson’s songs: “Not one person, however, who heard the Facebook advertisement, and commented about it on the blogosphere, noted any similarity between the Facebook advertisement and any Michael Jackson song,” Eight Mile Style said in its filing. “To the contrary, it is clear that the Airplane advertisement copied directly the Eminem/D12 composition, and ordinary observers have so concluded.” adding: “First, counsel (for W+K) falsely and wrongfully alleged that Andre Young, professionally known as Dr Dre, composed ‘Under The Influence’. Yet, a simple internet search of the Eminem/D12 Composition would have revealed that ‘Under The Influence’ was composed by Marshall Mathers III and members of D12, including Denaun Porter, Von Carlisle, Ondre Moore, R Arthur Johnson, and DeShaun Holton. Dr Dre likewise did not produce ‘Under The Influence’”. It goes on: “After wrongfully disparaging Dr Dre with inflammatory accusations about his practices as a producer and his alleged ‘long, well-documented history of copyright infringement’, (which is misguided, gratuitous and irrelevant since Dr Dre was not involved in the creation of the Eminem/D12 Composition), the letter continues with bizarre allegations that Dr Dre has actually Dr Dre has actualy stolen from Michael Jackson because ‘Under The Influence’ is supposedly a rip-off of one of Michael Jackson’s songs.

The publishers are seeking damages, attorney fees and an injunction against Facebook and W+K from using Under The Influence again




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