'Eminem Esque' and the risk of sound-alikes

Sound-alike tunes may have once been an ordinary part of the advertising repertoire but that hasn't stopped users for getting in trouble by using them.

The National Party recently discovered this, being found to have infringed on copyright for their use of the tune 'Eminem Esque' in a 2014 campaign ad.

They're not the only ones doing it though, with Tame Impala spotting a Chinese dairy company using the beat from their hit 'The less I know the better'.

The band's frontman Kevin Parker posted the ad on Instagram and criticised the use of the music.

"I mean COME ON guys at least put some effort in. @sonyatvaustralia #Lawsuit #nowitsmyturn," he wrote.

In the past sound-alikes have been found to contravene copyright in ads for yogurt, cars and even banks.

In the wake of the National Party being taken to court Darren Woolley, CEO of Trinity P3 marketing posted a blog saying companies should avoid using sound-alikes due to the risk they pose.

"Many people in the industry and advertisers themselves believe that if they can't afford the original music track then it is okay to commission a sound-alike track for often a fraction of the cost of the rights," he wrote.

"But it isn't. And if caught it will end up costing you significantly more."

In this case for the National Party it may well have. The court awarded $600,000 in damages to Eminem's company Eight Mile Style. 

National has now launched legal proceedings to hold the suppliers and licensors of the track liable for the money.