Blurred Lines verdict

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  • #20682 Reply
    Paolo
    Participant

    That is a possible defense if the earlier work is in the public domain

    Ahhh…thanks Michael.

    I wonder if it would have been noticed if when Thicke was promoting Blurred Lines, he hadn’t said he always liked Marvin’s “Got to Give It Up” and wanted to write something that had a similar feel.

    #20683 Reply
    MichaelL
    Participant

    I wonder if it would have been noticed if when Thicke was promoting Blurred Lines, he hadn’t said he always liked Marvin’s “Got to Give It Up” and wanted to write something that had a similar feel.

    Yes, that was very judgment on his part.

    And…if the song hadn’t become a major hit and earned huge amounts of money they wouldn’t have been a target, like every other Marvin Gaye knock-off that didn’t generate a lawsuit.

    But, see my post above re “calculated risk.” There’s more than enough to go around.

    #20690 Reply
    Advice
    Guest

    To see what all the fuss is about, I went back and watched youtube videos of both the Marvin Gaye song and Blurred Lines. One difference that stood out to me is that Robin Thicke has a naked woman in his video. Clearly that changes things. 😉

    Seriously, tough call. Very similar tracks but then again so many songs sound similar and there are no lawsuits (that we always know of).

    I never understood why the 50’s wasn’t just one big lawsuit. Same 4 chords and similar melodies in almost every song. 😉

    #20692 Reply
    Michael Nickolas
    Participant

    >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.<

    It this were the case, wouldn’t it have been smarter to settle out of court? Or maybe it was the other side who insisted on a jury?

    #20693 Reply
    MuscoSound
    Participant

    I think it’s a disturbing thought that a groove and feel is subject to copyright infringement. Look at a genre like reggae and how influential Bob Marley was in that genre. It could probably be argued that a lot of tracks could be comparable to Bob Marley. Another example would be Elvis, and how he inspired musicians at the time, and even now with genres like rock-a-billy. It’s a bad precedent to have an estate, not the musician because he’s dead, be able to go after generations of musicians that were inspired by the music for 70 years. I do get that the law needs to be there, but a verdict like that has such broad implications of what could happen. Everybody wants their music to be able to take care of their family when they are not here anymore, but there is a difference between someone legitimately just ripping your work off and someone being inspired by something you’ve done.

    #20695 Reply
    MichaelL
    Participant

    >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.<

    It this were the case, wouldn’t it have been smarter to settle out of court? Or maybe it was the other side who insisted on a jury?

    Maybe Thick and Williams thought they could win. Maybe the Gaye family was holding out for more. They are the ones who have to accept any settlement offer.

    #20696 Reply
    MichaelL
    Participant

    I think it’s a disturbing thought that a groove and feel is subject to copyright infringement. Look at a genre like reggae and how influential Bob Marley was in that genre.

    In your example, Michael, you are talking about a long recognized genre, with fairly standard structure and techniques.

    I’m not sure that you can fit the Marvin Gaye groove under a generic umbrella, like reggae, or blues, etc. There are somewhat unique elements to his creation that the plaintiff’s successfully argued were used by Thicke and Williams.

    The verdict and the argument go deeper than just “they copied his style” (which they admitted). So, I don’t think everyone who picks up a Harmon mute should be worried the Miles Davis’s estate is going to sue them.

    #20697 Reply
    Greg
    Guest

    I didn’t notice it mentioned here, but my understanding from an interview I heard on npr was that the ruling had nothing to do with groove or feel, but that it was based on the melody being notated and copyrighted by Marvin Gaye.

    #20698 Reply
    MuscoSound
    Participant

    I appreciate your legal expertise MichaelL, thanks for clearing that up.

    #20699 Reply
    Vlad
    Participant

    @MichaelL, regarding your U2/Coldplay argument a few posts up….

    If the ripoff were a song that had stylistic similarities yet an identity of its own (melody, chord structure, etc) I do feel that it is within the ballpark of okay, whereas the straight out theft of a track such as that is surely a violation. Kind of apples and oranges, IMO.

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