Marvin Gaye Heirs Face Counterclaim in “Blurred Lines” Legal BattleBy: Meaghan Ellis - November 4, 2013
Robin Thicke’s summer hit, “Blurred Lines” has come under fire this week, and the heirs of Marvin Gaye definitely aren’t happy. According to the court documents filed on Wednesday, Gaye’s children allege that “Blurred Lines” is an ‘illegal rip-off’ of Marvin Gaye’s 1977 hit, “Got to Give it Up.”
The song, which is also the name of Thicke’s sixth studio album, was produced by hip hop legend, Pharrell Williams, and written by rapper Clifford “T.I.” Harris and Robin Thicke, himself. While all three artists are accused of copyright violations, they aren’t the only ones who have come under fire. Gaye’s heirs also placed blame on Sony-ATV. For those who aren’t aware of Sony-ATV’s role in the industry, the company is a music publishing subsidiary owned and operated by Sony Music and the Estate of Michael Jackson.
In a nutshell, their role is to manage, distribute, and pay out prospective royalties for records on behalf of performing artists, producers and songwriters. The Gaye family is accusing the company of failure to uphold its responsibility in protecting the copyright of Gaye’s music catalog.
Sony-ATV was contracted by Gaye’s family following his death to manage his music catalog. However, conflict of interest is the crux of the problem in this particular matter. According to CNN, a counterclaim, also filed on Wednesday, revealed that the company also represents Pharrell Williams, which is why Sony-ATV ‘reluctantly’ refused to sue him, Thicke, and Harris when the Gaye family asked them to do so. The counterclaim was filed on behalf of the “Blurred Lines” artists in response to the lawsuit.
Thicke’s lawsuit also states that there are “no similarities” between the two records other than instrumental and commonplace elements relative to style musicianship. Thicke also argues that his record is not a form of copyright infringement simply because his record reminds listener’s of Gaye’s record.
“Blurred Lines” was definitely a chart topping summer hit, holding strong on the Billboard pop charts for a record-breaking 16 weeks. The court documents report that the record’s sales also spoke volumes in regards to its chart-topping status, as it sold more than 6 million copies.