blurredlinesIt seems the controversy surrounding Robin Thicke’s chart-topping “Blurred Lines” is extending much further than a flurry of finger-wagging over Miley Cyrus and scandalous dance moves.  Thicke, Pharrell Williams, and Clifford Harris, Jr. (the recording artist more commonly known as T.I.) filed a suit in August to preemptively protect the tune from claims of infringement on Marvin Gaye’s hit “Got to Give It Up.” You can read about that case here.  Now the Gaye estate has struck back.
The Gaye family filed a countersuit alleging that not only does “Blurred Lines” infringe upon the 1977 tune, but that Thicke specifically referenced and admitted the inspiration of Gaye’s song on his writing.  He mentioned the song during press interviews in May and July and its connection to his creation of “Blurred Lines”.
The Gaye family, in court documents filed October 30, claim that Thicke and his partners have blatantly ripped off “Got to Give It Up”, with similarities between the songs obvious enough to be noticed not only by music journalists, but by the general listening public.  The suit also names Sony/ATV Music Publishing, who administers Marvin Gaye’s music catalog, for failing to protect the copyright.  While Thicke claims the songs only share general musical elements, which aren’t protected under copyright law, musicologist Judith Finnell noted eight ‘substantially similar compositional features’ shared by the two songs.
This isn’t the only instance in which Thicke has found himself in hot water with the Gaye family over his possible appropriation of the late singer’s tunes—they have also accused him of stealing the 1976 hit “After the Dance” in his 2011 recording of “Love After War.”  It looks like the line between inspiration and appropriation is getting pretty blurry.