Legal clarity from Blurred Lines

The estate of soul singer Marvin Gaye is to go to court claiming copyright infringement against r&b singer Robin Thicke.

The ongoing dispute between r&b singer Robin Thicke and the estate of Marvin Gaye is heating up, with the announcement of a court case. The Gayes allege that Thicke, and producer Pharrell Williams, plagiarised Marvin’s song ‘Got To Give It Up’ in his worlwide hit single ‘Blurred Lines’. 

A Federal United States Judge has now decided there are grounds for a case and a jury will need to be satisfied that there is "intrinsic similarity of the works". Experts were brought in to analyse both songs. Musicologist Sandy Wilbur for Thicke and Williams said the melodies, harmonies and rhythms of each song were different and that only one note in key phrases was in the same pitch. Judith Finell for the Gaye family pointed out eight similarities.

"Since the compositions at issue are completely different, we remain confident of prevailing," said Howard King, lawyer for the defence.

The trial goes ahead on February 10th in Los Angeles and will also decide on a second claim by the Gayes for improper use of a sample from Marvin Gaye’s ‘After The Dance’ on another Thicke song.

‘Got To Give It Up’ was a number 1 US hit for Marvin Gaye in 1977. Compare the songs below and see what you think.


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