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Ad song 'blatant ripoff' of Eminem hit

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 2/05/2017

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The composer of Eminem's Lose Yourself has told a court he and its other writers never let the song be used for political advertising, as it threatens its "integrity".

Jeff Bass flew in from Michigan for the trial in Wellington's High Court on Tuesday, which has record companies Eight Mile Style and Martin Affiliated suing the National Party over the song being used in an 2014 election ad.

Mr Bass played the well-known opening riff of Lose Yourself to the court and said the entire song was developed incrementally as Marshall Mathers III, known as Eminem, filmed the movie Eight Mile in 2002.

"We worked on the song in between movie scenes in his trailer," he said.

"The intention I had with the opening riff was to create an intense, hypnotic feeling that something is about to happen."

Mr Bass said he and the other writers were selective over who they allowed to use the Oscar-winning and chart-topping tune.

"We considered Lose Yourself unique and we wanted to protect the integrity of the song whenever we could," he said.

"We have turned down each political request we ever received."

In this April 15, 2012, file photo, Eminem performs at the 2012 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, Calif. © ttakahash/ASSOCIATED PRESS/AP Images In this April 15, 2012, file photo, Eminem performs at the 2012 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, Calif. During cross examination, Mr Bass said the "Eminem-esque" song used by the National Party in 2014 was a "blatant ripoff" of Lose Yourself and he and the other writers did not give permission for the original to be copied.

He denied that he was influenced by other songs, such as Led Zeppelin's Kashmir, when composing the guitar riff and said Lose Yourself's rhythms and "feel" were very different to the Eminem-esque version.

Earlier, composer, writer and music expert Andrew Ford said the song in the National ad "substantially reproduced" Lose Yourself.

"In my opinion it's strikingly similar in all its features. It's clear 'Eminem-esque' [the name of the song used by National] incorporates Lose Yourself... It's been copied, and the title further proves this," Dr Ford said.

"It's a pale imitation. Close... but not as good."

The trial continues.

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