What do you think of the “Blurred Lines” verdict?

A Los Angeles jury ruled this week that the hit 2013 song “Blurred Lines” infringed on the copyright for Marvin Gaye’s 1977 party jam, “Got to Give It Up,” and ordered “Blurred Lines” composers Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams to pay more than $7.3 million to Gaye’s family, writes Quartz’ Adam Pasic.

Pasic argues the verdict is bad news for creativity:

Even if you love Marvin Gaye and hate Robin Thicke’s misogynist and vaguely rapey song, the verdict sets a terrible precedent, and could have a chilling effect on musicians trying to create new songs.

Pasic continues:

“Blurred Lines” does not take any lyrics or melodies directly from “Got to Give It Up,” but when you listen to the songs together it’s clear that they sound kind of similar. Lawyers for Thicke and Williams argued that they tried to evoke “that late ’70s feeling” of Gaye’s song, but that those elements are not copyrightable.

The jurors disagreed—even though the judge banned them from listening to “Got to Give It Up” except as a mash-up that combined a disembodied rhythm track with Thicke’s vocals.

  • bearfilm

    Listening to them separately – I get no sense of connection… There have been MANY other songs that have sounded much more similarly and were settled much more amicably than this. IF we are going down this road than “Uptown Funk” and “White Knuckles” better watch out for Prince!

  • John Dilligaf
  • Gary F

    Problem is that this decision and more to come are very subjective.

  • James

    I’m no musician, and certainly not a composer, but after reading books like “How Music Works” by David Byrne, and “Life” by Keith Richards, it’s pretty obvious that popular music (especially popular music that sells) is built on a foundation of music that pre-dates the composition. It is the rare composer who doesn’t listen to a lot of other music to get inspiration and ideas. The line between inspiration and copyright infringement is very subtle. In cases like this, it would seem that the “jury of our peers” should consist of other song writers, not people off the street, with no relevant experience.

  • Jim G

    Not the same…but the same. The blurred lines make Gaye’s family richer. If it makes any difference, I like both.

  • BeeBob

    Anything that stops this ghetto rap garbage that our kids hear and scars their moral development is a good thing.. These lyrics are what we want our teens listening to every day? Sheer garbage it is, and not music.

  • BeeBob

    The Gaye family shouldn’t even be associated with this poor excuse for music…sick mysoginystic, vulgar sexual and for low functioning people noise.
    Here are the lyrics_.
    “One thing I ask of you

    Let me be the one you back that ass to

    Go, from Malibu, to Paris, boo

    Yeah, I had a bitch, but she ain’t bad as you

    So hit me up when you pass through

    I’ll give you something big enough to tear your ass in two

    Swag on, even when you dress casual

    I mean it’s almost unbearable

    In a hundred years not dare, would I

    Pull a Pharside let you pass me by.”

  • Muzac

    I heard the jury had to work from the sheet music or bass line, quite different from we were exposed to on the TV reports. It’s always hard to second guess a jury since they’ve heard the whole body of evidence presented. That said, after hearing the two for a few seconds, I felt the verdict was right on. Add to this that the analysis was on paper from the bass line and it’s a strong case of infringement.

    On a third hand 🙂 , I do feel a huge issue is the length of copyright protection. Disney got Congress to go way overboard on this; it favors the big corps and family who do little to advance artistic production. If copyright is intended to serve us by maintaining incentives for production, the value of these long copyrights is dubious and in the case of borrowing, destructive.

  • davehoug

    the judge banned them from listening to “Got to Give It Up” = = = WHAT ??????? how is that justice to loose $7 Million and NOT have the jury listen to both songs????