Eminem’s Music Publisher Sues Facebook Over “Airplane” Ad

Posted May 22, 2013

Eight Mile Style, the music publisher of rap artist Eminem, has filed a lawsuit against Facebook for copyright infringement.  In the lawsuit Eight Mile Style referred to an ad called “Airplane,” which was created by Wieden + Kennedy agency.  The “Airplane” ad promotes the new Facebook Home software.  Eight Mile Style accuses Wieden + Kennedy of using background music that sounds the same as “Under the Influence” by Eminem and D12.

Another version of the ad appeared on YouTube using a different version of the background music.  Eight Mile Style said that they were attempting to avoid copyright infringement by doing that.  Eight Mile Style said that Facebook achieved the opposite because that acknowledges that they knew what they were doing was wrong.  Eight Mile Style also pointed out that copyright still applies to derivative works and the new version is also infringing on copyright.

The team behind Eight Mile Style (under the name F.B.T. Productions) also took Apple to court in 2009 to seek additional royalties from purchases made through iTunes.  They sought $1.3 million to settle the lawsuit and the main defendant in the case is Aftermath Records, the label founded by Dr. Dre.

One of the best allegations in this lawsuit is that Eight Mile Style said that the ad panders to Mark Zuckerberg’s music tastes.

?Upon information and belief, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been a longtime fan of Eminem. This is evidenced by one of the first websites Zuckerberg reportedly created in 1999, on which Zuckerberg refers to himself as ‘Slim Shady’, which is Eminem?s famously known alter-ego. Further, the Airplane advertisement evokes the same flippancy as the Eminem/D12 Composition,? said the lawsuit.  ?Upon information and belief, W+K incorporated said music into the Airplane advertisement 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 as the Eminem/D12 Composition.?

Last month, we wrote an article titled “This Angelfire Was One Of Mark Zuckerberg?s First Websites,” which refers to the website that Eight Mile Style is talking about in the quote above.

This is not the first time that a company has been sued for using Eminem’s music.  Apple made an out-of-court settlement with Eight Mile Style in 2005 for using the Eminem song “Lose Yourself” in an iPod commercial without permission.  Audi also had to pay Eight Mile Style for using a similar-sounding song in a video.

In 2011, Wieden + Kennedy created another commercial using Eminem’s music for a Chrysler ad.  That time Eminem’s song was used with permission.

Below is the “Airplane” ad: