Robin Thicke reluctantly sues Marvin Gaye and Funkadelic's representatives to protect his hit "Blurred Lines".
Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" definitely shares some stylistic elements with a certain era of funk & soul, but does that constitute copyright infringement? Thicke and co. are going to court to argue that it doesn't, after being approached by both Marvin Gaye's family, and Bridgeport Music, the owner's of Funkadelic's compositions, regarding the song's likeness to other recordings.
Thicke, Pharrell, and T.I. (who serve as the track's songwriters) have filed a suit in defense of the song. "Plaintiffs, who have the utmost respect for and admiration of Marvin Gaye, Funkadelic and their musical legacies, reluctantly file this action in the face of multiple adverse claims from alleged successors in interest to those artists. Defendants continue to insist that plaintiffs' massively successful composition, 'Blurred Lines,' copies 'their' compositions." states the suit.
The suit claims that Gaye's family has argued that the song has a similar "sound" and "feel" to Marvin's "Got To Give It Up". To which Thicke's camp is arguing that you can't copyright a musical style. "Gaye defendants are claiming ownership of an entire genre, as opposed to a specific work.
Funkadelic's team made similar accusations, pointing out the similar sound of "Lines" and the band's "Sexy Ways". However, compositionally, the pieces bear no resemblance. "There are no similarities between plaintiffs' composition and those the claimants allege they own, other than commonplace musical elements," reads the suit. "Plaintiffs created a hit and did it without copying anyone else's composition."
Bearing the influence of a specific time is fair play, the suit argues."Being reminiscent of a 'sound' is not copyright infringement. The intent in producing 'Blurred Lines' was to evoke an era."
The plaintiffs are looking for a declaration that their song does not violate the rights of the defendants, and that the "Gayes do not have an interest in the copyright to the composition 'Got To Give It Up' sufficient to confer standing on them to pursue claims of infringement of that composition."
George Clinton, legendary frontman of Funkadelic, who has expressed disapproval with Bridgeport in the past, has shown his support for Robin Thicke in the case. Read his tweet below.