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Eminem begins trial against New Zealand political party over "Lose Yourself"

The rapper claims they illegally used the song in an ad.

Eminem // Shady Records

Three years ago, Eminem sued a New Zealand political party for copyright infringement after it used a song in a campaign ad that bore striking similarities to the rapper's hit "Lose Yourself." Today, the trial over the lawsuit began.

Back in 2014, a commercial for National Party candidate Steve Joyce utilized an instrumental track that Eminem claims to be an unlicensed version of the 8 Mile single. However, the party's lawyers argue that they purchased the track through a stock music supplier and thought the use was legal.

Still, the name of the track was "Eminem-esque."

Today, the two songs were played in court, and despite Eminem not being in attendance, the rapper's lawyer Gary Williams said during his opening remarks:

"The song 'Lose Yourself,' is without doubt the jewel in the crown of Eminem's musical work. Not only did the song win an Academy Award for Best Original Song in a movie, it also won two Grammy Awards. In short, 'Lose Yourself' is an extremely valuable song. The licensing of the song has been extremely carefully controlled. Despite many requests, it has only rarely been licensed for advertising purposes. When licensed, it can command in the millions of dollars. That's how valuable it is."

Speaking outside the court, Joel Martin, a spokesman for Eminem's music publishers, said:

"The bottom line is we would never have permitted the use of the song in any political advertisement. We are Americans and we don't know about politics in New Zealand."

The judge-only case is expected to last a week. Watch the ad below.

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