voice + video blog

Eminem sues New Zealand government over production music track

The BBC is reporting that lawyers are suing New Zealand's governing party over a royalty free music track that sounds like Eminem’s Lose Yourself. 

The song was used in an election advert for New Zealand’s National Party in 2014. Eight Mile Style, the publishers, say the music track called “Eminem Esque” infringes copyright. 

The defending lawyers argue that it’s not actually Lose Yourself but a track from a stock music library. The track features no lyrics but has the same “insistent driving rhythm” in the style of the Eminem song from his 2002 film “8 mile”. 

The case could become a landmark if Eight Mile Style is successful in its claims of copyright infringement. 

Production music is the name given to recorded music specifically licensed for use in tv, radio and online. Producers use production or stock libraries as an alternative to commercial music as it offers songs that sound familiar or similar to their commercial counterparts but are generally much cheaper and have less restrictions placed on their use. Songs which resemble famous tracks, but are different enough to avoid breaching copyright, routinely feature in free-to-use stock music libraries. 

If the courts find in favour of Eight Mile Style’s claim, it could have massive implications for stock music libraries and jeopardise their business models. It would also cast doubt on the generally held assumption that stock music is a legal and safe way to include high quality music in media productions without restrictions on its use.

Posted by Tim Longhurst on Mon 01 May 2017.