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The song Blurred Lines continues to cause controversy since its status as a “hit” in 2013. This time, Robin Thicke, Pharrell Williams and T.I. sued Marvin Gaye’s family as a preemptive strike for copyright infringement. Thicke, Williams, and T.I.’s hit seems a bit familiar to Gaye’s 1977 hit, Got to Give It Up. And of course Gaye’s family counter-sued.
According to USA Today, Gaye’s family received $7.4 million from the jury’s unanimous decision.
Josh Chesterfield created a comparison between the two hit songs. What do you think?
Williams claims Miley Cyrus was his inspiration for Blurred Lines, according to his interview in The Guardian. In my personal opinion, Williams has a lot of integrity and pride in his music. I don’t think he intentionally “stole” Gaye’s work. Newer artists sample older works, otherwise the music industry would get stale.
But, whether Blurred Lines or Got to Give It Up merely sounded the same was not the issue in the court. In fact, it was irrelevant. The Gaye family owned copyright to the sheet music, but no rights to the recording. That explains why the jury was not permitted to hear to actual song, according to Keith Harris’s blog post.
Knowing that information, I’m not surprised songwriters accused of copyright infringement will do anything to avoid going to trial. Do you think this verdict will discourage other singers and songwriters from sampling or pulling inspiration from older songs?