Robin Thicke Just Pre-Sued Marvin Gaye Over ‘Blurred Lines’

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Blurred Lines music video still 2013Happy National Plagiarism Week you guys! I don't know about you, but Robin Thicke is celebrating by pre-suing Marvin Gaye over claims that his song ‘Blurred Lines' has too much in common with Marvin's ‘Got To Give It Up'.

I should also admit that National Plagiarism Week (NPW to its friends) is a thing I just made up, but that just didn't seem in keeping with the spirit of it, so let's pretend that I stole the idea from an up-and-coming blog and used my superior levels of influence to crush them into nothingness. I'm totally Fox Books in You've Got Mail. And yes, I totally hate myself for that reference.

ANYWAY. Goddamnit, I got so off-topic. Plagiarism! Yes! So much of it this week! First Katy Perry got some shade thrown at her by the vast hordes of internet users, Little Monsters and otherwise, who noticed that her song ‘Roar' bore some striking resemblances to the Sara Bareilles song ‘Brave'. As in…when you play them right on top of each other, the melody is…how you say…identical. Words are different, though, which was a nice professional courtesy to extend to a peer.

And then a few days later, some rabid Madonna fans pointed out that Lady Gaga‘s lackluster song ‘Applause' is kind of reminiscent to Madge's ‘Girl Gone Wild'. Or potentially any number of her other songs, according to our commenters.

And now, as this sacred week of copying draws to a close, we have one last hurrah, this time coming from the camp of ye olde Robin Thicke and his not-at-all-popular-or-controversial song ‘Blurred Lines‘. Which I love. Desperately. It's on constant loop on my phone/laptop/headbrain. Robin just ‘reluctantly' pre-sued Marvin Gaye (yes, that's a thing) because his estate has been making noise about suing Robin on the grounds that his song is too similar to Marvin's song ‘Got To Give It Up'. As previously stated.

Now, do the songs have similarities? Absolutely. Robin has even been open about the fact that they drew inspiration from the track's bouncy, summery vibe. Which…I don't think they would've voiced openly if they'd had any intention of copying it. The suit contends:

“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.”

But that's now officially up to a judge, and it's up to Marvin Gaye's estate whether they'd like to proceed. The same goes for Bridgeport Records, which owns the rights to songs by the British seventies group Funkadelic. According to the suit, they believe the suit has too much in common with their song ‘Sexy Ways', but I'll let you listen for yourself.

It's tough, though, y'know? I'm sure everyone thinks they're in the right, but it can be an extremely long, drawn-out, complicated process to determine what constitutes copying and what doesn't. Copyright law is notoriously tangly, and if the judge rules against Robin and ‘Blurred Lines', it's about to get even more so.

“The basis of the Gaye defendants’ claims is that “Blurred Lines” and “Got To Give It Up” “feel” or “sound” the same. Being reminiscent of a “sound” is not copyright infringement. The intent in producing “Blurred Lines” was to evoke an era. In reality, the Gaye defendants are claiming ownership of an entire genre, as opposed to a specific work, and Bridgeport is claiming the same work.”

I'm no expert, but I tend to agree with the previous statement. If the ‘vibe' of a song is up for grabs in a copyright law, then it's suddenly not safe for artists to even admit to being inspired by each other without opening themselves up to a suit.