Robin Thicke Sues Marvin Gaye’s Family Over ‘Blurred Lines’ Copyright Infringment Claims

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Robin Thicke
Robin Thicke's breakaway hit “Blurred Lines” has topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart for 10 weeks. He is currently engaged in a legal tussle with Marvin Gaye's estate.

Robin Thicke struck pop-music gold with the release of his infectious summer hit, “Blurred Lines.” The track shares a similar vibe with 1970s songs by rhythm-and-blues legend Marvin Gaye and the psychedelic soul group Funkadelic, a similarity some have contended isn’t completely coincidental.

As a result, Thicke, along with the new track’s co-authors Clifford Harris Jr. and Pharrell Williams, filed Thursday a pre-emptive lawsuit in a U.S. District Court in Los Angeles against the “alleged successors in interest to those [1970s-era] artists,” encompassing Gaye family members on the one hand and Bridgeport Music Inc. on the other hand. Hosted by the Hollywood Reporter, the suit requested the court to assess the validity of claims that “Blurred Lines” copies Marvin Gaye’s “Got to Give It Up” or Funkadelic’s “Sexy Ways.”

The suit said Gaye family members and Bridgeport Records “continue to insist” that “Blurred Lines” employs key elements of the sound of the classic tracks. Although Thicke and Williams have previously stated that they looked to embody the feeling of Gaye’s “Got to Give It Up,” they and Harris stress in their suit that their song was the product of their own creativity with the purpose of simply “evok[ing] an era.”

According to the court document: “There are no similarities between plaintiffs’ composition and those the claimants allege they own, other than commonplace musical elements. Plaintiffs created a hit and did it without copying anyone else’s composition.”

The suit argued that the Gaye family members are basically “claiming ownership of an entire genre, as opposed to a specific work, and Bridgeport is claiming the same work.”

Not only the founder of Funkadelic but also the co-author of “Sexy Ways,” George Clinton has stepped up in support of Thicke and Williams, saying on Twitter that claims of copyright infringement are a stretch:

You can listen to Funkadelic’s “Sexy Ways” below. Do you hear any similarities between the three tracks?

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