EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


May 22, 2013

Eminem publisher sues Facebook

DETROIT — Eminem’s song publisher is suing Facebook and its ad agency, claiming they infringed the rapper’s copyright.

In the 12-page complaint, filed Monday evening in Detroit federal court, Ferndale, Mich.-based Eight Mile Style contends that a Facebook ad that was broadcast online April 4 copied music from Eminem’s 2000 song “Under the Influence.”

The 30-second ad, dubbed “Airplane,” was featured in a webcast by Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg to announce Facebook Home, an interface for Android phones. Some viewers at the time noted a similarity between the ad’s music and Eminem’s song.

Eight Mile Style oversees rights and licensing for Eminem’s song catalog.

The complaint claims the ad agency, Wieden+Kennedy of Portland, Ore., copied Eminem’s music “in an effort to curry favor with Facebook by catering to Zuckerberg’s personal likes and interests, and/or to invoke the same irreverent theme” of the song.

A Facebook spokesperson declined to comment on the suit.

A version of the commercial featuring new music was posted to YouTube several days later. That version has also since aired on television.

The lawsuit contends the alteration “was an admission that Facebook knew it had infringed” on the Eminem song.

This isn’t the first time Eight Mile Style has taken on a tech giant: Apple reached an out-of-court settlement with the publisher in 2005 after using Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” in an iPod commercial without permission.

Audi agreed to a settlement in 2011 after using a “Lose Yourself” sound-alike song in a European promotional clip.

The Facebook Home media event took place in early April — the same week that web sleuths made headlines by purportedly turning up the old Angelfire homepage of a teenage Zuckerberg.

That site includes an “About Me” page that cites Eminem’s best-known persona: “Hi, my name is ... Slim Shady. No, really, my name is Slim Shady. Just kidding, my name is Mark.”

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