Eminem's music publishers sue Facebook for copyright infringement over song used in advert

Facebook claims in the lawsuit that Eminem's original song "Under the Influence" was a rip-off of a Michael Jackson single

Eminem’s music publishing company Eight Mile Style has launched legal action for copyright infringement over claims that Facebook used music in an advert that closely resembled an Eminem song without seeking permission.

The advert “Airplane” was played at an event in April to unveil Facebook Home, its new mobile software.

Eight Mile Style claims the song on the advert sounded “substantially similar” to Eminem’s “Under the Influence”, from the album The Marshall Mathers LP produced by Dr Dre and Eminem.

Eight Mile Style also claims that Facebook’s advertising agency “incorporated said music into the Airplane advertisement in effort to curry favour with Facebook by catering to Zuckerberg’s personal likes and interests”.

Zuckerberg is said to be a fan of Eminem and reportedly called himself “Slim Shady”, one of Eminem’s monikers, in an early website he created in 1999.

After the advert was first released online by Facebook, the company later changed the composition of the background music and re-released the video.

In the complaint, Lawyers representing Eight Mile Style said: “The alteration of the Airplane advertisement was an admission that Facebook knew it had infringed on the Eminem/D12 Composition.”

Eminem’s music publishing company said it is not possible to simply alter music to escape an infringement because the company owns rights to derivatives.

Facebook's legal counsel has continued to get under the skin of Eminem’s camp by claiming that the artist’s song “Under The Influence” was a “rip off” of a Michael Jackson song, which makes Facebook exempt from copyright infringement, it claims. 

Eight Mile Style responded to claims from Facebook in the lawsuit, stating: “After wrongfully disparaging Dr Dre with inflammatory accusations about his practices as a producer and his alleged 'long, well-documented history of copyright infringement,' (which is misguided, gratuitous and irrelevant since Dr Dre was not involved in the creation of the Eminem/D12 Composition)...

"The letter continues with bizarre allegations that Dr Dre has actually stolen from Michael Jackson because 'Under The Influence' is supposedly a rip-off of one of Michael Jackson’s songs.”

Eight Mile Style is seeking maximum statutory damaged of up to $150,000 per infringement for the defendant’s allegedly wilful misappropriation of Eminem’s song.

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