Robin Thicke, Pharrell and T.I. Sue Marvin Gaye's Family and Funkadelic Copyright Holder over Ownership of "Blurred Lines"
Published Aug 16, 2013Does Robin Thicke's summer mega-hit "Blurred Lines" sound a tad familiar? According to Marvin Gaye's estate and Bridgeport Music (which owns the copyright to some Funkadelic material), the track plagiarizes a couple of decades-old songs. In order to pre-empt a possible lawsuit, Thicke and collaborators Pharrell Williams and T.I. have sued the Gaye family and Bridgeport Music in order to establish their ownership of the composition.
The songs in question are Gaye's "Got to Give It Up" and Funkadelic's "Sexy Ways." While Thicke and company acknowledge that "Blurred Lines" channels a classic funk/soul, they maintain that it evokes a genre rather than a specific work.
The suit reads [via the Hollywood Reporter], "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."
Gaye's family and Bridgeport have apparently both been seeking a financial settlement while threatening legal action. According to the court papers, "There are no similarities between plaintiffs' composition and those the claimants allege they own, other than commonplace musical elements. Plaintiffs created a hit and did it without copying anyone else's composition."
There's no question that there's a faint similarly between "Blurred Lines" and the songs of yesteryear — "Got to Give It Up" in particular. But does this represent plagiarism? Not according to Funkadelic ringleader George Clinton, who tweeted his support of the plaintiffs, writing, "No sample of #Funkadelic's 'Sexy Ways' in @robinthicke's 'Blurred Lines' — yet Armen Boladian thinks so? We support @robinthicke @Pharrell!"
We'll have to see if the courts agree. Hear the songs in question below.