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Judge reserves decision in Eminem case

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 12/05/2017
John Key and Eminem © REX Features/Reuters John Key and Eminem

The judge in the case involving Eight Mile Style suing the National Party over the alleged use of Eminem's Lose Yourself has reserved her decision and it may be a couple of months until the outcome is known.

Lawyer for Eight Mile Style, Garry Williams, finished making his closing argument submissions on Friday afternoon.

He says the National Party and its general secretary, Gregory Hamilton, knew the risk that was being taken using the "soundalike" Eminem-esque composition for its election campaign advertising video in 2014.

Mr Williams said the "flagrancy" of the defendants' actions must be taken into consideration if Justice Helen Cull is to find in favour of Eight Mile Style and award damages.

"They knew the risk but they were told liability would not fall on them, so [the attitude is] 'it's someone else's problem, let's plough on'.

"That's reckless."

Media were excluded from the courtroom for a period on Friday while commercial details of song licensing were discussed.

Both sides agreed that there would parts of the judgement redacted when it became public to protect commercially sensitive parts of the music industry.

The National Party's lawyer, Greg Arthur, said in his own submissions that Lose Yourself was not original, something Mr Williams scoffed at.

The "hypnotic guitar riff" is world famous and recognisable, and the essence and substance of Lose Yourself had been used in the Eminem-esque version, he said.

Damages should reflect the license fees and creative control, and he concluded his submissions by saying interest would be sought from the date of the copyright breach in 2014, if Justice Cull found in his favour.

Justice Cull says both sides had presented thorough and helpful submissions and there would be plenty of interest in the music industry when her judgement was made public.

"I will reserve judgement but I hope it will not be too many months away," she said.

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