Eight Mile Style LLC, the Detroit-based publisher of Eminem's copyrights, is seeking a cease-and-desist order against Audi AG, alleging that a new European commercial makes unauthorized use of the rapper's song "Lose Yourself" in a spot for the 2012 Audi A6 Avant.
"Lose Yourself" is also the same music used in Chrysler's "Imported from Detroit' campaign for the new Chrysler 200 model, which debuted during the Super Bowl.
Video: Audi A6 Avant commercial
In addition to alleged unlicensed use of the soundtrack, Joel Martin, a spokesman for Eight Mile Style, said, "We believe Audi not only used 'Lose Yourself' to sell their product without permission, but their spot actually feels inspired by elements of Chrysler's commercial campaign."
Gualberto Ranieri, a Chrysler Group spokesman, responded to the new Audi spot: "Apparently someone believes that the definition of copyright laws is the right to copy others' materials, including world-renowned successes created by Chrysler Group brands."
Video: Chrysler 200 commercial
Regarding whether Chrysler might seek legal relief, a company rep said "At this time, nothing to announce on that front."
Eight Mile Style's lawsuit, filed this week in Hamburg Regional Court in Germany, only addresses the unauthorized use of the music and does not include possible claims by Chrysler that Audi may have copied the Chrysler 200 campaign. (The automaker has already proven protective of its highly popular campaign and earlier this year sued Pure Detroit, a three-store retailer which sells locally inspired merchandise, over unauthorized use of the "Imported from Detroit" line on merchandise.)
In addition to the cease-and-desist order, Eight Mile Style said it would seek damages. The commercial has not been aired in America, and Audi's U.S. agency Venables Bell & Partners is not associated with it. There are no ad agencies listed as defendants; an Eight Mile rep said the publisher does not yet know which agency created the commercial, which was shown at an Audi press event in Berlin last week and uploaded to YouTube.
In announcing May auto sales today, Chrysler said sales of its 200 model increased 154 percent over the year-earlier month for a previous model, and cited a new extension of the "Imported from Detroit" pitch in support of the Chrysler 300 model.