Robin Thicke Facing Claims of Blurring Lines of Copyright Infringement

By Joseph Mandour on August 21, 2013

music-concertLos Angeles – Crooner Robin Thicke filed a lawsuit in Federal Court in Los Angeles on Thursday, asking a judge to find that his hit single “Blurred Lines” does not infringe the copyrights held for Marvin Gaye and George Clinton’s most iconic music.

Thicke brought the lawsuit along with the song’s co-writers, Pharrell Williams and Clifford Harris Jr., who uses the stage name T.I.  The complaint comes after the trio received claims of copyright infringement from the family of Marvin Gaye and representatives from Bridgeport Music, which holds the rights to some of Clinton’s music from his band Funkadelic.

Representatives for Gaye and Clinton have argued that “Blurred Lines” too closely resembles Gaye’s “Got to Give It Up” and Funkadelic’s “Sexy Ways.”  They allege that this new hit song draws heavily from these soul and funk legends’ sounds.

Thicke’s lawsuit is a proactive measure, as he hopes that a judge will find that Gaye’s heirs have no reasonable claims of copyright infringement.  This lawsuit could prevent a long, drawn-out court battle over this song.

Thicke does concede that the intention of his song was to evoke that era of 1960’s soul music, which Gaye and Clinton helped revolutionize.  In the complaint, Thicke argues that his use of commonplace soul musical elements in his song did not constitute copyright infringement.

The complaint filed by Thicke counters the arguments made by Gaye’s family by noting that copyright protection does not extend to a broad sound or genre, but only specific elements of the songs at hand.

Marvin Gaye rose to prominence in the 1960s as a soul artist on Motown records.  Known as the “Prince of Soul,” his hits include “I Heard it Through the Grapevine” and “What’s Going On.”

George Clinton’s career took off in the 1970s and 80s with lead positions in the bands Parliament and Funkadelic.  He is renowned as an innovator of funk music and performed such hits as “We Want the Funk.”

“Blurred Lines” has evoked controversy since debuting in March, as a version of the music video features a cast of nude models dancing around the song’s singers, Robin Thicke, Pharrell Williams, and T.I.

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