The High Court decision on whether the National Party ripped off Eminem seems to be running late, as the wait for a verdict goes well past the usual time limit.

National is accused of using a backing track for a 2014 election ad that was too similar to Eminem's song Lose Yourself, therefore infringing copyright.

Justice Helen Cull reserved her decision on May 12 - noting at the time that decisions were usually delivered within three months.

That three-month deadline was reached on August 12, not long before Parliament was dissolved and the election campaign period began on August 22.


It is now more than four months since the decision was reserved.

The Herald has formally asked the High Court if the verdict has been delayed because of its political sensitivity in the election period.

There has been no response so far.

Information available through Court of NZ said High Court judges "expect that 90 per cent of decisions will be delivered within three months of the last day of hearing or receipt of the last submission.

"On occasion a judge may advise the parties at the hearing that the judgment will take longer than three months to deliver due to the complexity of the case or other pressing matters of court business."

No such advisory was made during the May hearing.

Statistics for the 12 months ending December 31 last year shows 77.3 percent of civil matters had a decision within one month, and 92 per cent within three months.

The case against the National Party focuses on whether it knowingly tried to sidestep licencing fees for Eminem's rap track Lose Yourself, by using the track Eminem Esque for a 2014 campaign ad.


The two-week hearing in May often threatened to descend into farce, as lawyers grappled to find the line between imitation and copying.

Lose Yourself was repeatedly played to the courtroom at full volume.

There was also a comparison between Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and the ABC song.

But behind all of the odd moments was a serious debate over the complex workings of copyright law.

There was also the issue of setting a legal precedent on the legality of copycat tracks.

Eminem Esque was bought from a licenced vendor, and defence lawyers at one stage pointed out many such "Esque" tracks available in the library.

When Justice Cull reserved her decision, she told the court she hoped her decision wouldn't be "too many months away".

At the time, an estimate was given to the Herald of a possible two- to three-month timeframe.