The Robin Thicke song “Blurred Lines” had a strong claim to the unofficial title “Song of the Summer” this year in Miami and the rest of the country, but few songs have engendered more controversy. The song came with a video featuring female nudity, and Thicke later performed the song in a much-discussed performance on MTV’s Video Music Awards, accompanied by pop star Miley Cyrus’ provocative dancing. In addition to this, a legal controversy has been brewing over the song.
Many music lovers noted that the song shares similarities with the 1977 hit “Got to Give It Up,” by soul star Marvin Gaye. In an unusual move this past August, Thicke, along with his “Blurred Lines” co-writers Pharrel Williams and “T.I.” Clifford Harris Jr., attempted to file a pre-emptive lawsuit in federal court in an effort to stave off any claims that they had infringed the copyright of “Got to Give It Up.”
More recently, the children of Marvin Gaye filed a lawsuit of their own against the “Blurred Lines” writers, alleging that the song infringes the copyright on their late father’s song. Also named as a defendant in their lawsuit was Sony-ATV, the publishing company that controls the copyright on “Got to Give It Up.” Gaye’s children said that they asked Sony-ATV to pursue infringement claims against the “Blurred Lines” writers, but it refused to do so.
Copyright law in music is a notoriously complicated area of intellectual property law. Those who work in Florida’s entertainment industry know that behind all the glamour and glitz there is a whole world of hard work and sharp conflicts. When legal disputes arise in this world, it’s important to get legal help from professionals who understand the technicalities of the law as well as the special needs of the entertainment industry.
Source: Huffington Post, “Marvin Gaye’s Children Countersue Robin Thicke Over ‘Blurred Lines’,” Anthony McCartney, Oct. 30, 2013