The company that publishes hip-hop musician Eminem’s music is suing Facebook over an advertisement launching Facebook’s new mobile software, Facebook Home. The advertisement was produced by the Wieden & Kennedy agency, the same agency that created the extremely successful Chrysler Superbowl ads featuring Eminem (permission was obtained to use his music).
This time around, however, the production company Eight Mile Style is going after Facebook for its use of a song that they claim closely mirrors the Eminem song, “Under the Influence”, released in 2001.
What is interesting in this lawsuit is the role that the advertising agency plays. According to Eight Mile Style, the copyright infringement is a result of Wieden & Kennedy’s desire to play up to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, a huge fan of Eminem. One of Zuckerberg’s early websites highlights the use of the name “Slim Shady”, Eminem’s famed alias that resulted from his first single. According to the lawsuit, Wieden & Kennedy used this knowledge to produce an airplane advertisement containing the same elements of irreverence that are so characteristic of Eminem’s persona and music in order to win Zuckerberg’s approval.
Due to his music’s immense popularity, Eminem has been involved in several other lawsuits regarding copyright issues, namely the settlements that resulted from Apple’s 2005 use of the song “Lose Yourself” for an iPod advertisement and Audi’s use of a song similar to another of his in a video.
It has yet to be determined whether or not Facebook will be held responsible for copyright infringement. These large companies should avoid the pitfalls associated with copyright infringement. It is important to consult with an attorney if you are unsure about the use of materials, whether it is music, images, language, etc. To learn more about our experience in copyright law visit pattersonlawfirm.com or call (312) 223-1699 to speak with one of our experienced attorneys.