John Key could be in copyright trouble over music used in the DVD to mark his year as National Party leader.
The party has been warned it is walking a fine line by using a newly created piece of music very similar to Coldplay's Clocks.
The similarities are enough to have prompted the Australasian Performing Right Association, which manages copyright issues and licences for many international bands in New Zealand, to notify the copyright holder for Coldplay frontman Chris Martin.
The Weekend Herald asked a music lawyer and musicology analyst to compare the Coldplay song to music used in the opening segments of the Ambitious for New Zealand - Meet John Key DVD because of confusion from some readers about the song in its opening segments.
National Party campaign manager Jo de Joux said the music was composed by "an Auckland artist" and paid for by the production company which produced the DVD.
However, music lawyer Chris Hocquard said if it was similar enough that the public was confused into thinking it was Clocks, it could be in breach of copyright laws and the Fair Trading Act.
"The test is 'does it confuse?' Does the public listen to that and think 'that's Clocks?' There's a very fine line when you're doing this and you have to be careful not to cross it. And I'm not sure they haven't."
Dr Graeme Downes, the former Verlaines frontman who is now a musicology consultant at Otago University, said the music shared the same rumba beat, harmony and chords as Clocks.
It also had a similar drum introduction, and the key was the same, "which draws even greater attention to the harmonic similarity".
"If I were approached by a lawyer to furnish a report for a prosecution of copyright infringement against the music on the DVD I would happily do so. If approached by a lawyer to furnish a report in its defence, I would decline."
Martin is well-known for his alignment with left-wing causes, such as fair trade and Oxfam, and his opposition to the Iraq War and George Bush. In his acceptance speech after winning the best record Grammy for Clocks in 2004, he specifically endorsed presidential candidate Democrat John Kerry.
The NZ branch of Coldplay's record company, EMI, had no comment.