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“Blurred Lines” Clarified in Judgement
July 22, 2015

Oh “Blurred Lines”, how we love/hate you. Since hitting airwaves in March 2013, the pop tune has been hit with continuous criticism.

Initial scrutiny for the song by Pharrell Williams, Robin Thicke and T.I. was due to its grossly sexist message, including its flagrant disregard for sexual consent (um, eww).

But despite its illicit message, ‘Blurred Lines’ had a slick groove we just couldn’t help but boogie down to.

Kinda like Marvin Gaye’s 1977 hit “Got to Give It Up”.

“Pharrell and I were in the studio and I told him that one of my favorite songs of all time was Marvin Gaye’s ‘Got to Give It Up’,” Thicke told GQ in an interview about the song’s origin. “I was like, ‘Damn, we should make something like that, something with that groove.’”

And they did make something “like that”.marvin gaye

But Gaye’s family felt it was too “like that”.

Nevertheless, they didn’t initally sue the singers. In fact, they only filed their countersuit last march — two years after “Blurred Lines” was first released — after the singers were bold enough to sue the Gaye family first.

After a seven-day trial, Gaye’s estate won $7.4 million.

Thicke and Williams’ legal teams motioned for a retrial.

U.S. District Judge John Kronstadt denied their motion this month, ruling to slash damages from the $7.4 million to $5.3 million, but grant Gaye’s family 50% of future royalties.

Williams’ attorney Howard King wasn’t the best loser:

“While we certainly respect the diligence and care devoted by the court throughout these proceedings, we must agree to disagree on the conclusions,” said King. “We look forward to exercising our further remedies and ultimately achieving clarity on the difference between inspiration and copyright infringement.”

Whatever. Score 2:0 for Gaye’s family!

robin thicke ice cream blurred linesWe can’t help but think of the grace with which Tom Petty handled his similar situation with Sam Smith last January.

In the meantime, best of luck to Thicke, Williams and King on clarifying their blurry line between inspiration and plagiarism.

In case you’d like a refresher, here are the two songs compared by the courts.

Got to Give It Up (Marvin Gaye)

Blurred Lines (Robin Thicke, Pharrell Williams & T.I.)

 

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