Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” is all about rarity—rarity of moments to own it and chances to blow. So you can see why his music publishers, Eight Mile Style, would fight New Zealand’s ruling conservative political party tooth and nail over just how singular the song’s sound is. The Detroit rapper’s lawyers have waged a legal battle over the last two weeks regarding the use of an Eminem-like song that’s literally called “Eminem Esque.” The lawsuit alleges copyright infringement, because even though the political party’s 2014 ad campaign didn’t actually use the Eminem song, it did utilize a musical doppelganger that even the judge has admitted sounds “contemporaneous.”
Eminem’s publishers are seeking an undisclosed cash settlement as well as an “our bad” from the National Party over the copyright infringement. But the defense maintains that while the songs are similar, they aren’t exactly the same, even though, again, the song they used is titled “Eminem Esque.” Even the judge pointed out that the title “is a little clue, isn’t it?,” in a moment that sounds like it came from a Flight Of The Conchords episode as much as an Eminem song. The National Party’s lawyers argue their clients are protected by the fact that the song is from a “licensed music library and was free from any copyright issues.”
Stateside readers might have first caught wind of the suit on last Sunday’s Last Week Tonight With John Oliver, which saw the host do his best Kiwi impression while relating the news of the stylistic similarities. The segment included footage of the lawyers and court members listening to both songs while trying to demonstrate and/or decide just how distinctive that opening guitar riff, which was written by Jeff Bass, is. Bass even performed the riff at trial. There were other hilarious trial moments, including the judge asking the lawyers to turn that shit up because she’s “not shy of loud music.” Although both sides have rested, the judge’s decision might not come for another three months, presumably because she needs that time to make her way through the rest of the 8 Mile soundtrack.