Jury: ‘Blurred Lines’ Stolen, Pharrell and Thicke Ordered to Pay $7 Million — Why This Is Bad
A jury unanimously decided that Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams infringed on Marvin Gaye's copyright of "Got to Give It Up" with the song "Blurred Lines." The jury of eight ordered a payment to Gaye's children of $7.4 million dollars.
I said throughout the trial and I'll say it again: I don't consider myself a Robin Thicke fan or much of a Pharrell fan - if anything, I'm more a Marvin Gaye fan than anything, but, I completely disagree that "Blurred Lines" can be considered an infringement.
I don't disagree that the songs sound similar and I'm not disputing that the pair, particularly Pharrell, were influenced by that general sound and that specific song. They admitted they were. However, I still disagree that it amounts to theft.
The world celebrates 60 years of rock & roll this year. That's literally millions upon millions of songs. In case you aren't aware, there are only 12 musical notes that exist. A,B,C,D,E,F,G, and a handful of "sharps" and "flats." That doesn't leave a lot of room for ingenuity in 2015 when you consider the thousands of brilliant musical minds that have come before us.
This USA Today article, that I 1000% percent agree with, invites some of the nation's best music law minds weigh in, and they all agree with collective comments that basically amount to a big 'WTF?'
Among them, Michael Harrington, a professional musicologist that specialized in federal copyright law calls the jury's decision "foolish" and "crazy."
Pharrell issued a statement to USA Today that reads in part "[the jury's decision] sets a horrible precedent for music and creativity going forward."
Here's hoping for an appeal.