March 10, 2015

Robin Thicke And Pharell Williams Lose The ‘Blurred Lines’ - Marvyn Gaye Lawsuit - Now New Rules For Music - Updated


I  guess this was inevitable.It has happened before and it seems it will happen again.

A JURY has awarded Marvin Gaye’s children nearly $7.4 million after determining singers Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams copied their father’s music to create Blurred Lines, the biggest hit song of 2013. 
Williams quickly released a statement to Rolling Stone. 

“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,” a spokesperson for Pharrell said. “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.”

Marvin Gaye’s daughter Nona Gaye wept as the verdict was being read and was hugged by her attorney, Richard Busch.

“Right now, I feel free,” 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.”

Last week it was revealed that the song made total profits made of US$16.67 million (A$21.3 million, with US $5.65 million of the profits going to Thicke, US$5.51 million to Pharell and US$705,000 to T.I who also appeared in the video.

The verdict means more than half of the pair’s profits will go to Gaye’s estate. 

The verdict could tarnish the legacy of Williams, a reliable hit-maker who has won Grammy Awards and appears on NBC’s music competition show “The Voice.”

An attorney for Thicke and Williams has said a decision in favour of Gaye’s heirs could have a chilling effect on musicians who try to emulate an era or another artist’s sound.


The Gayes’ lawyer branded Williams and Thicke liars who went beyond trying to emulate the sound of Gaye’s late-1970s music and copied the R & B legend’s hit Got to Give It Up outright.

“They fought this fight despite every odd being against them,” Busch said of the Gaye family outside court.

Thicke told jurors he didn’t write Blurred Lines, which Williams testified he crafted in about an hour in mid-2012.

Williams told jurors that Gaye’s music was part of the soundtrack of his youth. But the seven-time Grammy winner said he didn’t use any of it to create Blurred Lines.

Gaye’s children — Nona, Frankie and Marvin Gaye III — sued the singers in 2013 and were present when the verdict was read.
The verdict may face years of appeals.

“Blurred Lines” has sold more than 7.3 million copies in the U.S. alone, according to Nielsen SoundScan figures. It earned a Grammy Awards nomination and netted Williams and Thicke millions of dollars.

The case was a struggle between two of music’s biggest names: Williams has sold more than 100 million records worldwide during his career as a singer-producer, and Gaye performed hits such as Sexual Healing and How Sweet It Is (To be Loved by You) remain popular.

During closing arguments, Busch accused Thicke and Williams of lying about how the song was created. He told jurors they could award Gaye’s children millions of dollars if they determined the copyright to Got to Give It Up was infringed.

Howard King, lead attorney for Williams and Thicke, told the panel that a verdict in favour of the Gaye family would have a chilling effect on musicians who were trying to recreate a genre or homage to another artist’s sound.

King denied there were any substantial similarities between Blurred Lines and the sheet music Gaye submitted to obtain copyright protection.

Williams has become a household name — known simply as Pharrell — thanks to his hit song Happy and his work as a judge on the The Voice. He wrote the majority of Blurred Lines and recorded it in one night with Thicke. A segment by rapper T.I. was added later.

Williams, 41, also signed a document stating he didn’t use any other artists’ work in the music and would be responsible if a successful copyright claim was raised.

Thicke testified he wasn’t present when the song was written, despite receiving credit.
The trial focused on detailed analyses of chords and notes in both Blurred Lines and Got to Give It Up.

Jurors repeatedly heard the upbeat song Blurred Lines and saw snippets of its music video, but Gaye’s music was represented during the trial in a less polished form. Jurors did not hear Got to Give It Up as Gaye recorded it, but rather a version created based solely on sheet music submitted to gain copyright protection.

That version lacked many of the elements — including Gaye’s voice — that helped make the song a hit in 1977. Busch derisively called the version used in court a “Frankenstein-like monster” that didn’t accurately represent Gaye’s work.

An expert for the Gaye family said there were eight distinct elements from “Got to Give It Up” that were used in “Blurred Lines,” but an expert for Williams and Thicke denied those similarities existed.

Gaye, pictured above, died in April 1984, leaving his children the copyrights to his music. 

With thanks to News. Com 




A Boxed Set of Marvin Gaye's work will be released soon according to Noise 11:        

Like George Harrison, Chuck Berry and others re-mastered box sets seem to be the way to go.

The first of three LP box sets collecting the albums of Marvin Gaye is expected to be released on April 20 in the U.K. and April 21 in the U.S.

Music Tap reports that the first set will cover Gaye’s recording career from 1961 to 1965 and will, most likely, contain the following albums:

The Soulful Moods of Marvin Gaye (1961)
That Stubborn Kind of Falla (1963)
When I’m Alone I Cry (1964)
Hello Broadway (1964)
Together (1964)
How Sweet It Is to Be Loved By You (1965)
A Tribute to the Great Nat “King” Cole (1965)

Only How Sweet It Is charted nationally, reaching number 128 on the Albums and 4 on the R&B Albums charts; however, the albums did include a number of top twenty hits:
Stubborn Kind of Fella (1962 / #46 Pop / #8 R&B) – From That Stubborn Kind of Falla
Hitch Hike (1962 / #30 Pop / #12 R&B) – From That Stubborn Kind of Falla
Pride and Joy (1963 / #10 Pop / #2 R&B) – From That Stubborn Kind of Falla
Once Upon a Time (with Mary Wells) (1964 / #19 Pop / #3 R&B) – from Together
What’s the Matter With You Baby (with Mary Wells) (1964 / #17 Pop / #2 R&B) – from Together
Try It Baby (1964 / #15 Pop / #6 R&B) – from How Sweet It Is to Be Loved By You
How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You) (1964 / #6 Pop / #3 R&B) – from How Sweet It Is to Be Loved By You

Harry Weinger has overseen the set which sees the first three albums released in stereo on vinyl for the first time.


LOS ANGELES (AP) — A verdict saying Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke copied Marvin Gaye's music to create their hit song "Blurred Lines" could ripple across the music industry, potentially changing how artists work and opening the door to new copyright claims.
An eight-person jury determined Tuesday that Williams and Thicke copied elements of Gaye's 1977 hit "Got to Give It Up" and ordered the pair to pay nearly $7.4 million to the late R&B legend's three children.
Millions more in potential future profits for "Blurred Lines" are now also at stake.
The Gaye family will seek an injunction against the song, which will give them leverage to negotiate for royalties and other concessions such as songwriting credit, although Tuesday's verdict could face years of appeals.
While the verdict affects Thicke and Williams' finances in the short term, artists and music industry lawyers will likely face new constraints as they sort through the verdict and its implications.
Howard King, lead attorney for Thicke and Williams, said in closing arguments that a verdict for the Gaye family would have a chilling effect on musicians trying to evoke an era or create an homage to the sound of earlier artists. Williams contended during the trial that he was only trying to mimic the "feel" of Gaye's late 1970s music but insisted he did not use elements of his idol's work.
"Today's successful verdict, with the odds more than stacked against the Marvin Gaye estate, could redefine what copyright infringement means for recording artists," said Glen Rothstein, an intellectual property attorney.
He said the decision sets a precedent because "paying homage to musical influences was an acceptable, and indeed commonplace way of conducting business and even showing respect for one's musical idols, (but) after today, doubt has been cast on where the line will be drawn for copyright infringement purposes."
Music copyright trials are rare, but allegations that a song copies another artist's work are common. Singers Sam Smith and Tom Petty recently reached an agreement that conferred songwriting credit to Petty on Smith's song, "Stay With Me," which resembled Petty's hit "I Won't Back Down."
In the "Blurred Lines" case, the Gaye family will seek an injunction against the song, giving them leverage to negotiate for royalties and other concessions such as songwriting credits.
Nona Gaye, the late singer's daughter, wept as the verdict was read and later told reporters: "Right now, I feel free. Free from ... Pharrell Williams' and Robin Thicke's chains and what they tried to keep on us and the lies that were told."
Larry Iser, an intellectual property lawyer who has represented numerous musicians such as Jackson Browne and David Byrne in music copyright cases, criticized the verdict.
"Although Gaye was the Prince of Soul, he didn't own a copyright to the genre, and Thicke and Williams' homage to the feel of Marvin Gaye is not infringing," Iser said.
King, the pair's lawyer, said record labels are going to become more reluctant to release music that's similar to other works — an assertion disputed by Richard Busch, the lead attorney for the Gaye family.
"While Mr. Williams' lawyer suggested in his closing argument that the world would come to an end, and music would cease to exist if they were found liable, I still see the sun shining," Busch said. "The music industry will go on."
So, too, will Williams' career, said Joe Levy, editor-at-large at Billboard.
"For Pharrell, the story moves on," he said. "It will move on quickly."
Williams, 41, is a seven-time Grammy Award winner whose songs he's performed or produced have sold more than 100 million copies worldwide. His hit "Happy" has helped make him a household name, as has his work as a judge on NBC's music competition show, "The Voice."
"It's much to Pharrell's advantage that he is at a high point in his career," Levy said.
Thicke's career may have more issues as a result of Tuesday's verdict — which came on his 38th birthday — because "Blurred Lines" was a global hit and his follow-up effort failed to connect with audiences, Levy said. Despite the song's popularity, feminists have criticized it, saying it promotes rape culture.
While the verdict will likely make musicians and record labels more cautious, it won't stop artists from using others' works as inspiration, Levy said.
Despite the decision, he predicted that "Blurred Lines" will continue to make plenty of money for Williams, Thicke and, in all likelihood, the Gaye family.
"People aren't going to stop playing it," Levy said. "It's not just going to disappear."
By Anthony McCartney who can be reached at
With thanks to My Way

Another update from Noise 11 By Paul Cashmere:

Stevie Wonder Says Blurred Lines Is Nothing Like Got To Give It Up

Stevie Wonder has commented on the ‘Blurred Lines’ vs ‘Got To Give It Up’ court case. The music legend says the court made the wrong decision.

“I don’t think it’s a steal from Marvin Gaye,” Wonder told TMZ. “I’ve been through lawsuits for songs and all that. I think that the groove is very similar but you have to remember he is a big fan of Marvin Gaye’s so that’s okay. But the song is not like Marvin Gaye’s. It is not the same”.

Earlier this week Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams were ordered to pay the family of Marvin Gaye $7.4 million for ripping of Gaye’s 70s soul classic ‘Got To Give It Up’ with their 2014 hit ‘Blurred Lines’.

Wonder doesn’t think the ruling was the end and that next time it could go ugly for the Gaye family. “If the family should hear this, don’t let your lawyer get you into losing money on some of the crap out there,” he said.

Williams and Thicke will now seek an appeal.

Howard King, acting for Williams and Thicke, said in a statement, “We owe it to song writers around the world to make sure this verdict doesn’t stand,” King said. “My clients know that they wrote the song ‘Blurred Lines’ from their hearts and souls and no other source.”

The Gaye family is currently investigating the similarity between Pharrell Williams’ ‘Happy’ and Marvin Gaye’s ‘Ain’t That Peculiar’.

“Pharrell has readily admitted that Marvin Gaye is one of his idols, but it’s silk and rayon,” King said in his statement. “If this is the way the law is going to go, then the creator of rayon better look behind him for lawsuits from the owners of silk, because, even though they feel the same they are structurally, completely different just like these songs.”

The Gaye vs Thicke case has set an interesting precedent for songwriters. Similarities between Iggy Pop’s ‘Lust For Life’ (written by David Bowie) and Jet ‘Are You Gonna Be My Girl’ could develop into legal arguments. Derivative band Airbourne and Wolfmother could face legal action from AC/DC or Black Sabbath. AC/DC could face legal action from Chuck Berry. The list goes one.

The most high-profile plagiarism case was The Chiffons vs George Harrison over ‘My Sweet Lord’. That end was result was that George lost the case but the ending had a twist, he ended up owning the song he “stole”.


Here is an except from my 1993 interview with George Harrison explaining the case:

Paul Cashmere: How do you feel about “My Sweet Lord” these days. How did the court case surrounding that song effect your songwriting?

George Harrison: It didn’t really affect my songwriting. I did record “This Song,” which was kind of a comment about the situation. The thing that really disappoints me is when you have a relationship with one person and they turn out to betray you. Because the whole story of “My Sweet Lord” is based upon this fellow, Allan Klein, who managed the Beatles from about 1968 or ’69, through until 1973. When they issued a complaint about “My Sweet Lord”, he was my business manager. 

He was the one who put out “My Sweet Lord” and collected 20 percent commission on the record. And he was the one who got the lawyers to defend me, and did an interview in Playboy where he talked about how the song was nothing like the other song. Later, when the judge in court told me to settle with them, because he didn’t think I’d consciously stolen their song, they were doing a settlement deal with me when they suddenly stopped the settlement. Some time elapsed, and I found out that this guy Klein had gone around the back door. In the meantime, we’d fired him. 

He went round the back door and bought the rights to the one song, “He’s So Fine,” in order to continue a law suit against me. He, on one hand, was defending me, then he switched sides and continued the law suit. And every time the judge said what the result was, he’d appeal. And he kept appealing and appealing until it got to the Supreme Court.

 I mean this thing went on for 16 years or something … 18 years. And finally, it’s all over with, and the result of it is I own “My Sweet Lord,” and I now own “He’s So Fine,” and Allan Klein owes me like three or four hundred thousand dollars ’cause he took all the money on both songs. It’s really a joke. It’s a total joke.

Paul Cashmere: There’s a movie plot in there somewhere.

George Harrison: There’s definitely a book, because, now with any kind of law pertaining to infringement of copyright, they always quote this case. It’s become the precedent in all these law students’ books.

Latest update July 17th,2015 from Noise 11:

A U.S District Judge has just handed down a decision that upholds the verdict given to the family of Marvin Gaye over the copying of Got to Give It Up in the Robin Thicke smash Blurred Lines.

The Gaye family won the original trial back in March, where it was found that Thicke and Pharrell Williams did not willfully and plan copyright infringement but did, in fact, copy major portions of the Gaye record, and were awarded $7.4 million. The verdict was appealed but, in the long run, it may have hurt more people and companies.

Along with denying a new trial, U.S. District Judge John Kronstadt also agreed with the Gaye family on their request to add T.I., who also appeared on the record, and the record companies UMG, Interscope and Star Trak Entertainment to the judgement.

Gaye’s family did, however, lose the bid to have the song removed from all distribution. They were, instead, awarded 50% of all songwriting and publishing royalties. The judgement was also reduced from $7.4 million to $5.3 million.

Thicke and Pharrell still plan on appealing the original ruling.

Some related posts:

Tom Petty Calls Sam Smith Song "A Musical Accident"

Did Led Zeppelin Steal The ‘Stairway to Heaven’ Riff?

George Harrison's Apple Years Box Set To Be Released
Chuck Berry: Complete Recordings To Be Released As 16CD Set

The Rolling Stones To Release Two Heritage Concerts On DVD & Their Australian "On Fire" Tour

Related:Melanie Safka: Look What They Did To Her Songs

Copyright Issues With "Prisoner Theme" Written by Allan Caswell

2014's Most Catchy and Popular Songs

Musicians Ask for Change to Copyright Law to Fight YouTube Piracy