Blurred Lines verdict

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  • #20660 Reply
    Desire_Inspires
    Participant

    I can see the similarities on a song like Sam Smith’s “Stay with Me” and Tom Petty’s “I won’t Back Down” because the melodies are so alike, but once you start suing for copyright infringement based on grooves and feel, where do stop?

    Easy: you don’t stop suing. I am sure MichaelL knows, some lawyers make a good living being copyright and patent trolls.

    #20661 Reply
    Kiwi
    Guest

    I agree that the focus on “feel” and “vibe” is troubling. It definitely opens up the possibility for more litigation.

    http://boingboing.net/2015/03/11/proprietary-vibes-a-new-dawn.html

    #20663 Reply
    MichaelL
    Participant

    The Blurred Lines decision is just the first step in a possibly long process. It is by no means the law of the land.

    If they choose to do so, Williams and Thicke can appeal the verdict all the way to the US Supreme Court, where it would become the law of the land.

    Until then, the verdict in LA sets a precedent that other jurisdictions can cite, but not necessarily follow.

    I would like to see the SCOTUS set a bright line rule, but it may not be necessary, if proposed changes to the copyright are put into effect.

    In the end, let’s not forget that Thicke and Williams have earned, and will earn far more from Blurred Lines, than the 7.8 million awarded.

    But…here’s an interesting musical analysis:
    http://joebennett.net/2014/02/01/did-robin-thicke-steal-a-song-from-marvin-gaye/

    #20664 Reply
    woodsdenis
    Participant

    MichaelL do think they will appeal, is this possible under US law ? With such a large amount of money involved it would seem probable, if they could.

    TBH I do find this troubling, there are so many songs out with a similar groove and chord structure (see my 4 chords vid above). Its the nature of pop music, I even thought the Tom Petty/Sam Smith was not right either. How many other songs have that 3 note melody ? and in that case they were in no way a similar style.

    #20666 Reply
    MichaelL
    Participant

    Yes, they can appeal. They should appeal. They can file a Writ of Certiorari to put the case before the US Supreme Court. But, the Court only grants a small fraction of such requests.

    This would be an ideal case for the Supreme Court to hear, because it really goes to the heart of the basic business today…everyone copies everyone.

    But…as suggested above there may be changes in the US copyright law itself, that would address many of the issues here.

    #20676 Reply
    Paolo
    Participant

    Would citing an earlier example of a similar groove/feel, which predates both parties, be an effective argument/defense?

    i.e. if composer A wrote a song with a green onions, bo diddley or a jazzy minor blues groove and composer B wrote a song with a similar groove/feel AND subsequently sues artist A for copying him, would citing the “origin groove” be something that would help composer A in court?

    #20677 Reply
    MichaelL
    Participant

    Would citing an earlier example of a similar groove/feel, which predates both parties, be an effective argument/defense?

    That is a possible defense if the earlier work is in the public domain. For example if Williams and Thicke could prove that both they and Marvin Gaye were influenced by the same pubic domain work.

    Neither Bo Diddley (who died in 2008) not Booker T (who is very much alive) would have works in the public domain. The question would be whether Booker T’s Green Onions, or any of Bo Diddley’s works were influenced by earlier PD works, and of course they were. Whether a jury would buy that probably depends on which way the wind is blowing that day.

    #20678 Reply
    MuscoSound
    Participant

    That verdict is ridiculous and should be appealed. SOOO much of music is about being inspired by the musicians that came before and taking something they’ve done and adding your flair to it. It’s an homage or like hey I was really inspired by you and your work. I mean everybody is like oh who does that band sound like. Oh well it’s a mixture of x, x, and x. Just my two cents.

    #20679 Reply
    MichaelL
    Participant

    SOOO much of music is about being inspired by the musicians that came before and taking something they’ve done and adding your flair to it.

    You’re correct Michael. Classical composers frequently “borrowed” from each other. Jazz and blues are both traditions which were handed down from generation to generation, musician to musician.

    But…we recently went through a long thread here recently in which someone was nearly rabid over their IP rights. So, on one hand we want to be protect and profit from our works, but on the other people are calling this verdict wrong.

    What if someone rips-off U2 or Coldplay for the millionth time, then someone rips the knock-off from Soundcloud or an RF site and put’s it into a video? The first infringement is OK, but the second is not?

    #20680 Reply
    MichaelL
    Participant

    Food for thought: What if Williams and Thicke took a calculated risk? Suppose they were fairly certain that their song would earn millions of dollars, and continue to earn a lot of money into the future?

    In reality they were probably willing to give up a slice of the pie, if they got called on it, and the fight was just about how big a slice.

    Even with a 7.9 million dollar verdict, Pharrell and Robin will be just fine.

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