Eminem song has a 'low level of originality' - National Party lawyer

A National Party lawyer has told the Wellington High Court that Eminem's hit song 'Lose Yourself' has "a low level of originality".

The comments came during closing arguments in the trial brought by rapper Eminem's US copyright administrator.

Eight Mile Style, which works on behalf of the rapper, argues National used a piece of music in a 2014 campaign advertisement that was a ripoff of 'Lose Yourself'.

National found the music called 'Eminem Esque' on an online music library called Labrador. The company that made the music, BeatBox, is also a defendant in the case.

A large part of National Party lawyer Greg Arthur's closing arguments have focused on the question of what constitutes originality.

Mr Arthur told the court both the guitar riff and repetitive drumbeat in 'Lose Yourself' are in themselves nothing new, calling them "building blocks" of music that are widely used. 

He argues that if they are not original, then using 'Eminem Esque' cannot be considered copyright infringment.

"Strip away those lyrics and the delivery and there wouldn't have been an Academy Award."

Mr Arthur said 'Lose Yourself' and 'Eminem Esque' are two pieces of music that "occupy totally different worlds" - the former being an award-wining song, and the latter found in an online production music library.

He said there was no evidence National's use of 'Eminem Esque' had damaged either Eight Mile Style or Eminem himself.

Mr Arthur also reminded the court that the purpose of copyright law is to play a "balancing role" between protecting people's work while also allowing for development of new music.

The idea that parts of music could not be reused without payment or writing credit would set a precedent and "disrupt the whole music industry", Mr Arthur said.

A lawyer representing AMCOS NZ is set to give close arguments later today.

AMCOS NZ is the organisation National went through to license 'Eminem Esque' for use in New Zealand.

Eight Mile Style will go last, with Justice Helen Cull expected to reserve her decision when the trial wraps up on Friday.


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