Mar 16, 2015

Copyright Infringement – Lines to be blurred again?

We have previously reported on the trial to determine whether the hit song 'Blurred Lines' by Robin Thicke, Pharrell Williams and Clifford Harris Junior infringed that of Marvin Gaye's 1977 hit 'Got to give it up'.

At the trial Williams testified that he had not copied the original song but had tried to mimic the feel of the era claiming he "must've been channelling". However, on Tuesday 10 March 2015, the jurors considered all of the evidence and came to the conclusion that parts of Gaye's 1977 song had been used to create 'Blurred Lines' and therefore the original hit had been infringed. The Court awarded Gaye's family damages in the sum of $7.4m (approx. £4.8m).

On 12 March 2015, Thicke and Williams' lawyer, Mr Howard E.King confirmed that they intended to appeal the decision saying that his "clients knew they wrote the song Blurred Lines from their hearts and souls and no other source", despite Robin Thicke having previously stated in a televised interview that the wanted to "create something like it".

Mr King claims that the jury was swayed by evidence given by an expert which should have been inadmissible. The evidence was based on elements of the song which were absent from the original sheet music. At the time of the song's copyright, only written music could be registered as protected and therefore sound recordings would not have been included.

Whilst Mr King has not denied that his clients were inspired by Marvin Gaye's and other music from that era, he insists that the work was original and that an appeal will be made to overturn the decision stating "we owe it to songwriters around the world to make sure this verdict doesn't stand". We will keep you updated as the appeal progresses.

in: Case Law, Copyright, News

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