Could 'Blurred Lines' be banned? The notorious song is facing a whole lot of new drama
“Blurred Lines,” the song that stirred a thousand controversies, is back with big-time drama.
After yesterday’s ruling against Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams, claiming their smash hit, “Blurred Lines,” had infringed upon Gaye’s 1977 classic, “Got To Give It Up,” Gaye’s family is now looking to prevent sales and distribution of the song.
“We’ll be asking the court to enter an injunction prohibiting the further sale and distribution of ‘Blurred Lines’ unless and until we can reach an agreement with those guys on the other side about how future monies that are received will be shared,” attorney Richard Busch, who represents the Gaye family, told Rolling Stone today. “We’ll be doing that in about a week or so.”
“I just want to let the readers know that we didn’t start this fight,” Busch added. “They sued us, taking a declaration of non-infringement. They started this war and we just finished it.”
War? Well, it has been an epic court battle that ended yesterday with a verdict against Williams and Thicke over their hit song. After eight days of trial testimony concerning copyright infringement, the jury ordered that Thicke and Williams pay $4 million in copyright damages to the Gaye estate, according to Billboard, PLUS profits from the song, which for Thicke involves another $1.8 million and for Williams means an extra $1.6 million — that’s a grand total of $7.4 million. This shatters the record $5.4 million Michael Bolton had to pay to the Isley Brothers for using elements of their song, “Love Is a Wonderful Thing.” Even still, the $7.4 million pales in comparison to the ginormous $25 million Gaye’s estate had originally sought in the case.
It’s fair to note that much of the case depended on the fact that Gaye’s estate held the copyrights to the sheet music for “Got To Give It Up,” not the actual commercial recording. For that reason, the Gaye estate had to demonstrate that “the songwriting in ‘Blurred Lines’ [followed what was] written in their sheet music, including lyrical melodies and the bass line,” notes the Hollywood Reporter.
Williams, who wrote and produced the song, claimed that he was channeling the ’70s when he made “Blurred Lines,” much less stealing from Marvin Gaye. When asked by Gaye’s attorney about why he wouldn’t steal, Williams claimed that, “[Marvin Gaye is] one of the ones we look up to so much. This [court] is the last place I want to be right now. The last thing you want to do as a creator is take something of someone else’s when you love him.”
In an effort to prove just how easily songs could be stitched together, Robin Thicke took to the witness stand, reportedly singing a slew of tunes like U2’s “With or Without You,” the Beatles “Let It Be,” Alphaville’s “Forever Young,” Bob Marley’s “No Woman No Cry” and Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror.” Evidently, the jury was not persuaded by Thicke’s one-man show. (Though, we imagine it was impressive to watch.)
Following the case’s conclusion, Williams’ rep released a statement, which hinted at resolving some unfinished business: “While we respect the judicial process, we are extremely disappointed in the ruling made today, which sets a horrible precedent for music and creativity going forward. Pharrell created ‘Blurred Lines’ from his heart, mind and soul and the song was not taken from anyone or anywhere else. We are reviewing the decision, considering our options and you will hear more from us soon about this matter.”
The case serves as a reminder of just how many, erm…blurred lines there are when it comes to the difference between copied and original material. If you remember back in January, Sam Smith and fellow songwriters, James Napier and William agreed to pay Tom Petty royalties for “Stay With Me,” simply due to the fact that there are similar chorus melodies in “I Won’t Back Down”.
So, what’s your verdict? Decide for yourself with this mash-up of “Blurred Lines” and “Got To Give It Up,” below. (And enjoy it while you still can.)