“Blurred Lines” Copyright Infringement Settled with Massive Judgment

“Blurred Lines” Copyright Infringement Settled with Massive Judgment December 14, 2018
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Remember the 2013 nausea-inducing hit “Blurred Lines,” by Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams? The catchy and familiar hook made you bop your head back and forth and ignore the blatantly sexist lyrics. The beat was so familiar that a Federal judge in California ruled Thicke and Williams infringed on the copyright of the song “Got to Give it Up” by Marvin Gaye. The judge ordered a massive settlement to the Gaye family for stealing the beat that made the song explode.

In the summer of 2013, no one could escape the song, “Blurred Lines,” sung by Robin Thicke. The song had a hook that repeated, “Hey, Hey, Hey,” over and over. In between funky, throwback sounds, Thicke belted out lyrics that made most women cringe.

The song climbed all the way up the charts. For 12 straight weeks, “Blurred Lines,” was the number one song in the country. While the song was the hit of the summer, the single also provided a lot of controversies.

Critics of the song said it promoted rape and fed rape culture. The suggestive lyrics seemed to suggest a woman saying no really meant yes.

I hate these blurred lines
I know you want it
I hate them lines
I know you want it
I hate them lines
I know you want it
But you’re a good girl
The way you grab me
Must wanna get nasty

As the lyrics pissed off feminists, music critics noted the song’s hook,  “Hey, Hey, Hey,” sounded a lot like a 1977 song by Marvin Gaye. The lyrics in the hook were even used in the 1977 hit,

Everybody get up
Everybody get up (Hey, hey, hey)
Hey, hey, hey
Hey, hey, hey

Individuals on YouTube created videos to blend the two songs. When the songs played next to each other, it was clear that “Blurred Lines,” was a cheap knock-off of Marvin Gaye’s, “Got to Give it Up.”

After hearing the song, Gaye’s family sued Thicke and Williams for copyright infringement in 2013. In a court deposition, Thicke famously said he was too high on Vicodin and drunk that he didn’t remember writing the song. Due to his intoxication, Thicke said he couldn’t violate the copyright because he wasn’t in his right mind.

For five long years, Thicke, Williams and the Gaye family have fought over the song. Finally, a judge in Federal court issued the final judgment for the copyright infringement.

In the order, Thicke and Williams must pay the Gay family nearly $5 million in damages. Thicke and Williams must pay a joint $2.8 million. The court tacked on another $1.8 million to Thicke’s tab as the co-writer for profits from the song. Williams, the publishing company owner, will pay $357,630.96 for his share of the profits.

The total award to the family was $4,983,766.85. Moving forward the Gaye family will receive 50% of the royalties for publishing and songwriter revenue.

Overall the judgment is a win for the Gaye family. However, for critics of the song, the only victory will be when the radio and streaming services stop playing the horrific rape anthem.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • WallofSleep

    “… Thicke said he couldn’t violate the copyright because he wasn’t in his right mind.”

    Well Robin, you’re half right.

    Thankfully I do not listen to radio stations that play that style of music, so I only hear anything about it when the court case comes up in the news.

  • As long as this song remains unaffected by this, I’ll be fine:

  • Steven Watson

    This is superior to, and far more useful and entertaining, than either of the “songs” in litigation.