Eminem’s song publisher Eight Mile Style is suing Facebook and its Portland ad agency Wieden+Kennedy for allegedly copying his 2000 song “Under the Influence.”
The publishing house filed a 12-page formal complaint in a federal court in Detroit on Monday.
The 60-second ad in question is called ‘aeroplane’ and promotes Facebook Home.
According to Eight Mile Style, the song was featured in a webcast given by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg on April 4, prompting the publisher to issue a complaint shortly thereafter. The section of the video using the song has since been changed. Eminem’s lawyers claim, “The alteration of the aeroplane advertisement was an admission that Facebook knew it had infringed on the Eminem/D12 Composition.”
Curiously, the complaint not only criticises Facebook’s unauthorised use of the song, but it also specifies that Wieden+Kennedy copied Eminem’s music “in an effort to curry favour with Facebook by catering to Zuckerberg’s personal likes and interests, and/or to invoke the same irreverent theme” of the 2000 song.
(Incidentally, Wieden+Kennedy was the agency that developed Eminem’s notorious Super Bowl spot for Chrysler in 2011.)
The song similarities were not lost on viewers. Blogger, Josh Wolford, posted about the familiarity of the song featured on the Zuckerberg webcast and noted that an altered version of the spot – using different music – was uploaded on Facebook’s official YouTube channel a few days later. He pointed out that in the new version (see below), “the melody is similar, but not the same,” as the Eminem song. The television release of the spot used the new music, as well.
Eight Mile Style included the amended version in their court complaint, claiming that the revision was “an admission that Facebook knew it had infringed” on the songwriter’s music.
The music publisher has had a string of law suits with various companies like Apple and Audi who have used Eminem’s music without permission. Both companies settled with the rapper’s publisher out of court.
The revised Facebook ad.
The Eminem song “Under the Influence.”
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