After the National Party of New Zealand used the Eminem song Lose Yourself as part of their political campaign, Eminem’s publishers, Eight Mile Style LLC, and Martin Affiliated LLC filed proceedings for copyright infringement in the High Court of Wellington, seeking damages. Under s.29 and s.32 of the Copyright Act 1994 of New Zealand, copyright in Eminem’s song would have been infringed if the political party played the song in public without having an adequate licence agreement.
Joel Martin, a spokesperson of the publishers, said that nobody had contacted them to use the song. If they are found liable for copyright infringement, the National Party risks paying a five-figure sum to Eminem’s publishers.
However, the National Party argues that they purchased the appropriate rights to use the music. They bought them from Beatbox (a music supplier based in Australia and Singapore), through APRA AMCOS. APRA AMCOS is the Australasian body that acts as local agents for music licensing companies around the world and is a reputable body.
Chris Hocquard, a copyright lawyer from Auckland, said that if the National Party were found to have infringed copyright, they may be able to go back to Beatbox and require that they contribute to the fine. He explains that there should be an indemnity clause in the agreement that they have signed with Beatbox. He explained: “Your standard licensing agreement would have an indemnity clause in it, and a warranty would say you’re entitled to use this music and it doesn’t infringe on anyone else’s rights. It doesn’t absolve you from responsibility – but it does mean you can go after the person that caused it.”
Steven Joyce said that National had done everything in the proper manner and that the legal action was probably aimed at getting money and free publicity. He also said that when the publishers contacted them, National stopped using the music in its adverts.