Eminem doesn’t usually involve himself with New Zealand politics, but the rapper and his publishing company have filed a copyright infringement suit against the National Party after current prime minister John Key used the rapper’s “Lose Yourself” in a reelection campaign ad without permission. While the National Party has since stopped using the 8 Mile cut in its advertisements, Eminem is seeking unspecified damages, the Guardian reports.
Eminem was never approached about giving permission for the use of “Lose Yourself” in the ad. “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,” Eminem’s publishers said in a statement.
Prime Minister Key is also credited in the entertainment industry with helping to facilitate the arrest for copyright infringement of Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom, albeit through an “illegal spying” scandal that nearly derailed Key’s time in office. The National Party said they did receive permission to use the song through an Australian production company and that, while they reached a compromise to stop using “Lose Yourself,” a lawsuit was still filed with New Zealand’s Ministry of Justice.
Using songs for political purposes without permission seems to be an international problem that creeps up every Election Day. In 2008, prior to the Presidential primaries, John Mellencamp demanded that potential Republican candidate John McCain stop using “Pink Houses” and “Our Country” at his campaign rallies. That same year, Jackson Browne filed a lawsuit against the McCain campaign for their repeated use of “Running On Empty.”