October 12, 2016
Originally posted 2018-11-19 11:18:17
By Caroline Lau | amdlawgroup.com
8 Mile Style, a song publisher for Eminem, filed a lawsuit in May against Facebook and Wieden & Kennedy, the advertising agency behind Facebook’s “Airplane” commercial for copyright infringement. The copyrighted song in question is “Under the Influence”, a collaboration piece between Eminem and rap group D12 off “The Marshall Mathers LP”, Eminem’s third and most successful studio album to date. A court hearing is scheduled for August 5th, involving representatives of 8 Mile Style, Facebook, and the ad agency.
The song publisher asserts that the music used in the Facebook commercial “Airplane” is too similar to, and easily recognizable as a copy of the rap song. The social network company and the ad agency deny these claims, instead attributing the commercial’s music to a sampling of the song “Give in To Me” by Michael Jackson.
After listening to the music from all three sources, the music in “Airplane” is undoubtedly a sample of “Give in To Me” in terms of melody. However, the similarity between the instrumental sound and beat of the commercial’s music and the hook in “Under the Influence” is quite noticeable. Depending on what the court will decide as standards for the music being “substantially similar”, 8 Mile Style may have a case.
Interestingly, based on the comments under the official Youtube video for the Facebook commercial, viewers have identified other hip hop songs that the commercial’s music bears resemblance to, such as Dr. Dre’s “What’s the Difference” featuring Eminem and Xzibit as mentioned by Youtube user ‘Tim Rodd’, and Watkin Tudor Jones’s “The Organ Grinder” someone with the username ‘Fascinate7’ suggests. The musical likeness between the Facebook ad’s music and these songs is also pretty convincing.
However similar much of the music may be out there, 8 Mile Style is acting on its ownership and control of their particular song, “Under the Influence”, in suing Facebook and Wieden & Kennedy for violating copyright. In using some composer’s music for the creation of a commercial, the marketing of one product, the Facebook Home software, could be found to be infringing on an entirely different industry’s product, a hit rap song. The many intersections of creative work these days make intellectual property a larger issue than ever in a hyper-connected world.
MLive. (July 3, 2013). Eminem song publisher, Facebook receive Detroit court date in copyright infringement case. Retrieved on July 5, 2013 from http://www.mlive.com/entertainment/detroit/index.ssf/2013/07/eminem_song_publisher_facebook.html
AllFacebook. (July 5, 2013). Aug. 5 Scheduling Hearing Set for Eminem’s 8 Mile Style Copyright Suit Vs. Facebook, Wieden & Kennedy. Retrieved on July 5, 2013 from http://allfacebook.com/aug-5-scheduling-hearing-eminem-8-mile-style_b121247
Youtube. (April 6, 2013). Facebook Home Commercial TV Ad, “Airplane”. Retrieved on July 5, 2013 from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a9VRMJ5ABbw
Image Credit: http://www.clashmusic.com