Copyright Infringement? "Blurred Lines" Decision

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Setherex
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Copyright Infringement? "Blurred Lines" Decision

Post by Setherex » Tue Mar 10, 2015 10:23 pm

The jury has reached a verdict in the “Blurred Lines” case against Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams, ordering them to pay $7.3 million to the family of Marvin Gaye for copyright infringement.

In the trial, Marvin Gaye’s family argued that 2013’s “Blurred Lines” copied their father’s 1977 song “Got to Give Up,” and sued Thicke, Williams and Clifford Harris Jr., a.k.a. T.I. The three had sought a jury determination that the song was not an infringement, and the Gaye family filed a countersuit.

“Right now, I feel free,” Marvin Gaye’s daughter, Nona Gaye, said after the verdict. “Free from … Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke’s chains and what they tried to keep on us and the lies that were told.”

“Blurred Lines” was a huge hit in 2013 and, by many measures, was the top song of the year. Since it was released, “Blurred Lines” has made nearly $16.5 million, with the Gaye heirs seeking a portion of the profits. Overall, the family sought more than $25 million. Gaye died in 1984.

Both Thicke and Williams appeared in court to defend their case, with much of the trial featuring comparisons to both songs. Listening to the juxtaposed bass lines of the two songs in question, Williams even admitted the similarities, saying “It sounds like you’re playing the same thing.”

Still, while testifying last week, Williams said the two songs share “feel — not infringement.”

The testimony was perhaps most notable for the presence of Thicke, who sang and played the piano as he defended the work as original and said he was intoxicated when he gave media interviews in which he talked about Gaye’s influence on the works. He also said that he was mistaken when he claimed credit for writing part of the song.

The eight-person jury closed its full day of closed-door deliberations on Friday after hearing a week of testimony, with court resuming on Tuesday.
http://variety.com/2015/music/news/blur ... 201450117/

Interested in nudging all your brains with this recent decision. As far as I can recall, I have never heard of a copyright infringement ruling as excessive as this one. I can understand why this particular case may have reached the scale that it did - the song was an incredibly huge hit worldwide. But how does this stand with other forms of music sampling? Should Bo Diddley be allowed to sue everyone who uses the "Bo Diddley" beat for an amount nearing 50% of the song's reported revenue?

Seems ridiculous to me. But so does the industry in general nowadays.

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Re: Copyright Infringement? "Blurred Lines" Decision

Post by Jeff » Tue Mar 10, 2015 10:52 pm

I hate this ruling, partially for the reasons you mentioned at the bottom of your post. Making things worse is that Gaye is long dead so it's his children (who contributed in no way to the song in question, presumably) profiting from the ruling. I'm sure several descendants of Southern blues musicians could become quite wealthy suing rock stars if they had the means, at least based on the precedent set by this decision. I think that usually when a sample is used 25% goes to the 'original' artist (assuming that it's a significant sample used for the majority of the song), so I too am flummoxed as to why Gaye's family is receiving a little under 50% for it (and the Gaye family were initially asking for more than the song ever made in the first place!). Even if "Blurred Lines" lifted heavily from "Got to Give Up," I do not see Gaye's contribution reaching 50%.

I also found the more recent incident where Sam Smith gave Tom Petty a songwriters credit on "Stay with Me" (to avoid this kind of lawsuit) to be equally absurd. Owning something as abstract as a melody seems problematic to me.

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Re: Copyright Infringement? "Blurred Lines" Decision

Post by Nick » Wed Mar 11, 2015 1:15 am

Setherex wrote:
“Right now, I feel free,” Marvin Gaye’s daughter, Nona Gaye, said after the verdict. “Free from … Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke’s chains and what they tried to keep on us and the lies that were told.”
Give me a fucking break.

The songs don't even sound THAT much alike. It's a stupid frivolous lawsuit, and people who had absolutely nothing to do with the creation of Marvin Gaye's song are getting rich off of it.

Mindrocker
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Re: Copyright Infringement? "Blurred Lines" Decision

Post by Mindrocker » Wed Mar 11, 2015 2:49 am

Setherex wrote:Interested in nudging all your brains with this recent decision. As far as I can recall, I have never heard of a copyright infringement ruling as excessive as this one. I can understand why this particular case may have reached the scale that it did - the song was an incredibly huge hit worldwide. But how does this stand with other forms of music sampling? Should Bo Diddley be allowed to sue everyone who uses the "Bo Diddley" beat for an amount nearing 50% of the song's reported revenue? Seems ridiculous to me. But so does the industry in general nowadays.
Eh, infringement? The vocal melody is different but the music is 100% plagiarized:
Still, $7,3 million is an excessive sum. I guess it all depends on having a good lawyer and owning the publishing rights. The old bluesmen or Bo Diddley on the other hand probably couldn't even find the way to the nearest legal office.
Last edited by Mindrocker on Wed Mar 11, 2015 3:04 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Copyright Infringement? "Blurred Lines" Decision

Post by bootsy » Wed Mar 11, 2015 2:55 am

Nick wrote:
Setherex wrote:
“Right now, I feel free,” Marvin Gaye’s daughter, Nona Gaye, said after the verdict. “Free from … Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke’s chains and what they tried to keep on us and the lies that were told.”
Give me a fucking break.

The songs don't even sound THAT much alike. It's a stupid frivolous lawsuit, and people who had absolutely nothing to do with the creation of Marvin Gaye's song are getting rich off of it.
The songs do sound alike especially the melody. Get out of here with that don't even sound THAT much alike. If you can't tell when you hear this song that it sounds just like Got To Give It Up you need to get your hearing chcked. They straight jacked that song. I'm glad that this happened because of Thicke and Pharrell's arrogance over how they handled this entire thing when all they had to do was give credit.

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Re: Copyright Infringement? "Blurred Lines" Decision

Post by Nick » Wed Mar 11, 2015 4:13 am

bootsy wrote: The songs do sound alike especially the melody. Get out of here with that don't even sound THAT much alike. If you can't tell when you hear this song that it sounds just like Got To Give It Up you need to get your hearing chcked. They straight jacked that song. I'm glad that this happened because of Thicke and Pharrell's arrogance over how they handled this entire thing when all they had to do was give credit.
The songs sound very similar, but not similar enough to where a lawsuit was warranted in my opinion.

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bootsy
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Re: Copyright Infringement? "Blurred Lines" Decision

Post by bootsy » Wed Mar 11, 2015 2:26 pm

Nick wrote:
bootsy wrote: The songs do sound alike especially the melody. Get out of here with that don't even sound THAT much alike. If you can't tell when you hear this song that it sounds just like Got To Give It Up you need to get your hearing chcked. They straight jacked that song. I'm glad that this happened because of Thicke and Pharrell's arrogance over how they handled this entire thing when all they had to do was give credit.
The songs sound very similar, but not similar enough to where a lawsuit was warranted in my opinion.

They gave no credit at all. They deserved to be sued.

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Re: Copyright Infringement? "Blurred Lines" Decision

Post by Jirin » Wed Mar 11, 2015 4:32 pm

Uh oh, Mick Jagger, time to sue Neil Young for Borrowed Tune. He confesses right in the lyrics! :)

"Mister Young, being too wasted to write your own song is no defense for plagiarism!"

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Re: Copyright Infringement? "Blurred Lines" Decision

Post by Harold » Wed Mar 11, 2015 4:52 pm

McCartney and Yoko Ono could sue Dylan for "4th Time Around."

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Pierre
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Re: Copyright Infringement? "Blurred Lines" Decision

Post by Pierre » Wed Mar 11, 2015 4:58 pm

I must say, the bass lines do sound quite similar...

What I don't understand is why Thicke and Williams chose to take it to court. A few years ago, when Coldplay were sued for plagiarism by Joe Satriani, they settled it out-of-court, and don't tell me Williams doesn't have enough money to satisfy Gaye's family. I don't know who is Thicke and Williams' legal advisor, but I believe they should change quickly.

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Re: Copyright Infringement? "Blurred Lines" Decision

Post by Jirin » Thu Mar 12, 2015 1:50 am

This is a really bad precedent. With all the millions of songs that have been recorded, sometimes one is going to sound similar to another. Sometimes it's coincidence but in cases like these, it's not plagiarism, it's influence. Now ANYBODY with a famous dead ancestor who notices anything vaguely similar to one of their ancestor's songs is going to start throwing opportunistic lawsuits around. Overlitigation is the enemy of creativity and free expression.

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