The music used in a National Party campaign advert was strikingly similar to an Eminem hit song, Lose Yourself, a judge has been told.
Music expert Dr Andrew Ford said a piece of music called Eminem Esque was strikingly similar in all its essential features to Lose Yourself.
He was led to the conclusion that the Eminem Esque was copied from Lose Yourself, Ford said in the High Court at Wellington on Tuesday.
In a case that started on Monday the National Party and its manager/secretary, Gregory Hamilton, are being sued over the music used in the advert which allegedly infringed copyright.
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The lawyer for the copyright holder says the campaign advert was used on television more than 180 times between August 17 and 30, 2014.
When the party was warned about the copyright claim the advert was redone using other music.
The first version of the advert used a “soundalike” track called Eminem Esque, by composer Michael Cohen.
Lose Yourself is the work of rapper Eminem – real name Marshall Mathers III – along with Luis Resto and Jeff Bass. It won an Academy Award in 2003 and two Grammys in 2004.
The court was also due to hear from two musicologists who would compare Lose Yourself and Eminem Esque.
Eminem was not a party to the copyright case. The court has been told that after a series of deals the copyright to Lose Yourself was part-owned by US company Eight Mile Style. Some of the ownership arrangement was said to be confidential.
Another US company, Martin Affiliated, had the right to negotiate licensing deals and take action over copyright infringement. The company’s principal, Joel Martin, said the National Party would not have been permitted to use Lose Yourself for any amount of money.
The National Party’s lawyer has told the court that the original aspects of Lose Yourself needed to be assessed. The song’s originality lay in its melody and that was not part of the Eminem Esque track. Copyright infringement could not be proved by the name Eminem Esque, lawyer Greg Arthur said.
The hearing was about the liability and amount of any damages between the US companies and the National Party if the judge decided the party had infringed the copyright without permission.
It was expected that if the party was found liable it would look to minimise its loss via licensing arrangements and warranties about the legal position that it allegedly had from third parties.