Blurred Ethical Lines

marvin gaye

The family of Marvin Gaye has been awarded $7.3 million in a lawsuit against Robin Thicke, Pharrell Williams and TI regarding the song “Blurred Lines.” FINALLY.

I remember being floored when I first heard of the lawsuit, assuming that Gaye’s estate had been compensated for what I thought was a sample of “Got to Give It Up.” Blurred Lines’ huge popularity was due to its cross-generational appeal brought to you by Marvin Gaye; it would ignite a hand-dancing frenzy in my mother’s generation. Summertime gatherings blared this tune with great grand-children bopping along with Nana! There is no way that anyone could claim that this meteoric hit was not firmly planted in the baseline and vocals of Marvin Gaye. Period.

I am so disgusted. Thicke, Williams and TI are musicians and know the pride of creating something. Further, I know that they must be aware of the trials and tribulations historically faced by black songwriters and musicians who had their works repeatedly stolen. I have lost so much respect for Pharrell. As far as Thicke, I lost respect for him when he threw Pharrell under the bus early on, stating that any potential wrong doing was on Williams because he was too drunk, high and suffering from a broken heart when they recorded to be culpable. TI…whatever…

As I learned of the ruling, I wondered why the award was not larger; the original lawsuit was for $25 million. Apparently, Gaye’s copyright only applied to the sheet music for Got to Give It Up NOT Gaye’s vocals, background vocals or percussion…smdh… Call me pessimistic, but I am guessing Williams knew this going in (as he produced and wrote this “original” song). A joint statement from the trio:

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. ‘Blurred Lines’ was created from the heart and minds of Pharrell, Robin and T.I. and not taken from anyone or anywhere else.


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