Eminem, the Detroit rapper who rocked the world with his hard hitting rhymes is suing the National Party of New Zealand for using the music for his hit song "Lose Yourself" in a campaign video. The campaign video to promote John Key, who is up for re-election, has since been taken down but the National Party rejected the allegations leveled against it stating the music was taken from the Beatbox library and, although similar, is not identical nor does it include any lyrics.
The complaint has been filed in Wellington, New Zealand. Hopefully the High Court will recognize the importance of respecting foreign copyrights, certainly considering how important the New Zealand legal system considers intellectual property rights. A spokesman for Eminem’s publisher stated, “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.” Lose Yourself has been licensed to only a handful of companies and certainly not to any political party as the publishers are against such usage.
The three strikes copyright law, for those of you curious, was passed in 2011 as the Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Act. Under this law an offender receives two notices from the ISP after illegally downloading copyrighted content and on the third infringement the copyright owner can take the infringer to the Copyright Tribunal. But in case you were wondering if the National Party (if allegations are proved true) can get off the hook as this would be their first offense, the law only applies to online file sharing.
Another trending artist to file a copyright infringement suit recently is Iggy Azalea, who has been in the news recently for more than just her music.
She is suing Primco Management Inc. and ex-boyfriend, hip-hop artist Jefe Wine, for copyright and trademark infringement. Jefe allegedly downloaded songs from Iggy’s computer without her permission onto a portable hard drive back in 2008. Through his company he has since released her songs on iTunes, Pandora, and other online music stores for sale. Primco had stated it had obtained rights to Iggy’s songs and planned to release her album by the end of this month. The album is titled "Inizio" and is being marketed using her name and likeness. A subject we have touched upon in a previous blog. Jefe Wine, real name Maurice Williams, claims that his actions are legal as Azalea had purportedly signed a contract assigning rights to distribute her songs. She claims the contract is forged.
Part of her complaint was posted on ibtimes: "As a result of their actions, Defendants are liable to Azalea for willful copyright infringement under 17 U.S.C. § 501. Azalea suffered, and will continue to suffer, substantial damage, including the value of Defendants' unauthorized use, loss of the right to control her work, loss of the right to keep the Unreleased Masters unpublished, and other losses, in an amount not yet ascertained, but which will be determined, according to proof."
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