First of all no disrespect to the legend Marvin Gaye (RIP) and all he has done for music as a whole. I'm a huge fan and this article has nothing to do with that fact. In case you are reading this and you don't know me I have been DJing for the last 10 years, can read and write music, and I produce Hip-Hop instrumentals. I'm no musical genius but I do understand the basic fundamentals.
The issue at hand is that Robin Thicke’s and Pharrell Willam's song “Blurred Lines” had so much of a resemblance to Marvin Gaye’s “Got to Give it Up” that the Gaye family was seeking damages for compensation and the Gaye family won. My issue isn’t with how much money the Gaye family was rewarded, Robin Thicke’s lies, or even how people are calling the Gaye heirs greedy. My issue is with the dangerous precedent that this court case has set in motion. But lets back up some.
First of all lets listen to both songs
Marvin Gaye: Got to Give it Up:
Robin Thicke: Blurred Lines
Now "Blurred Lines" does not sample “Got to Give it Up" at any point but they are accusing the song of sounding too similar. In the Gaye family press release they stated that the bass line was taken right from “Got to Give it Up”, and that they also stole the “defining funk of the cowbell”. The article below breaks down how both songs are not only in 2 different keys but the baseline uses different notes and rhymes, the cowbell rhythmically is different as well.
Follow the link below for a full musical breakdown of both songs:
Musically these 2 songs are different, so how did the Gaye family win? They argued that the feel of the songs were too close, they argued that there were too many similarities between the hook, phrasing, keyboard-bass interplay, lyrics and theme of the song. And this is where i have an issue.
Yes the 2 songs have some silmalirairtes but if it was not sampled and musically the songs aren't the same, how can this be considered a copyright infringement? As the phrase goes “there nothing new under the sun”. The whole musc industry is based off of what has came before it, will Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson be next, did they steal some funk from Prince? Did Amy Winehouse (RIP) steal Ella Fitzgerald's (RIP) sound? Should Ariana Grande be sued for sounding like Mariah Carey? I could go on and on but i think you get my point, where is the line and how far will this go in the future? If you think this decision dosnt mean anything bigger than a 11 million dollar fine your wrong. I believe this case will set the precedent for future cases, not only stunting an artist's creativity out of fear, but also making this kind of decision common place. I hope I’m wrong….
Just my thoughts ladies and gentleman, I'd love to hear yours!
Articles I based my research from: