Did Facebook’s ad agency, Wieden & Kennedy, lose itself in the music of hip-hop star Eminem while creating “Airplane,” a commercial for Facebook’s recently introduced Home overlay for Android? 8 Mile Style, Eminem’s song publisher, filed suit in federal court in Detroit against the social network and the agency, alleging that the ad used music from the rapper’s 2000 song, “Under the Influence.”
The Detroit Free Press reported on the lawsuit, saying that the music was used when Facebook Co-Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg introduced Home in April, and subsequent versions of Airplane uploaded to YouTube and airing on television used different music.
The complaint accused Wieden & Kennedy of copying 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.
According to the Free Press, when 8 Mile Style first approached Wieden & Kennedy about the issue last month, the advertising agency responded that there were no grounds to assert copyright, as the music in question was sampled from a 1991 Michael Jackson song, “Give In to Me.”
The newspaper obtained a letter from Wieden & Kennedy attorney Guy Cohen, in which he asserted that Eminem collaborator and fellow hip-hop star Dr. Dre wrote and produced “Under the Influence,” noting that Dr. Dre “has a long, well-documented history of copyright infringement,” and adding that the music in the original Facebook ad was not similar to Eminem’s song, and, in any event, the initial version of the ad is no longer publicly available.
8 Mile Style head Joel Martin responded to the Free Press that the song in question was co-written by D12 and produced by the Bass Brothers, and he added, referring to a Wieden & Kennedy Super Bowl ad campaign for Chrysler that legitimately used Eminem’s “Lose Yourself”:
I find it so arrogant, after they did so well with the Chrysler-Eminem campaign, that they would say Dr. Dre stole this from Michael Jackson.
Facebook did not respond to a request for comment by the newspaper.
Readers: Did Wieden & Kennedy cross the line, or does 8 Mile Style have no case?
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