The lawsuit says Thicke [and others] have "the utmost respect for and admiration of Marvin Gaye, Funkadelic and their musical legacies," but must "reluctantly file this action in the face of multiple adverse claims from alleged successors in interest to those artists."You can listen to all 3 songs at the link. I like this lawsuit, because "Blurred Lines" isn't copying those other 2 songs. It's a tribute to that old style, not a copying. Naturally, the Gaye and Funkadelic property owners feel the normal human greed and would like some "Blurred Lines" cash thrown their way, but these threats of lawsuits deserve legal pushback, and I like seeing the new artist doing something that will deter that tactic. I'm not an intellectual property expert, so I'll let others weigh in on the likelihood that Thicke will get the judicial remedy he seeks.
Those earlier artists benefit when the younger generations get their ears tuned to the old sound. If you go to the YouTube "Got to Give It Up" page, you'll see people saying things like "The Blured Lines lawsuit brought me here." Me too! When's the last time you listened to "Got to Give It Up"? I'm a long time Marvin Gaye fan. I bought the single "Stubborn Kind of Fellow" when it came out in 1962. It was one of the first records I bought, and it was Gaye's first single if you don't count 3 failed efforts at marketing him as "the Black Frank Sinatra." But "Got to Give It Up" is late 70s Gaye, the sort of thing we loathed at the time and called "disco." I listened to it today, and I probably would otherwise never have listened to it.
Gaye has been dead for almost 30 years, so there's no way of knowing what he would think of the claims the owners of his intellectual property are making today. And why isn't stuff this old in the public domain already and completely open to picking over and reenvisioning and outright note-for-note copying? It seems odd to clutter the court with a preemptive lawsuit, but what is Thicke supposed to do about the predation his success attracts? Congress should redo the copyright law, shorten the terms of ownership, and thereby limit the potential for lawsuits and threats of lawsuits, which are especially bad when the artist is not around even to have a belief about whether his rights are infringed.
ADDED: Look at how Madonna reacted to what was much more of a rip off:
“I certainly think [Lady Gaga] references me a lot in her work. And sometimes I think it’s amusing and flattering and well done”... Madonna said sometimes Gaga’s work also appears to be a “statement about taking something that was in the Zeitgeist, you know, 20 years ago and turning it inside out and reinterpreting it.”Maybe Gaye, had he lived, would have displayed a similar attitude. Unfortunately, Gaye was murdered, and so we are deprived of the chance to see him sip tea and smile and use words we need to look up — or whatever his version of that would be — when some reporter pushes him to say what he thinks about the similarity between "Blurred Lines" and "Got to Give It Up."
“There’s a lot of ways to look at it. I can’t really be annoyed by it... because, obviously, I’ve influenced her.” But the Material Girl became coy when the conversation turned to “Born This Way.” “When I heard it on the radio …I said that sounds very familiar,” Madonna said.
Asked if that felt annoying, Madonna responded, “It felt reductive.” Pressed as to whether that was a good or bad thing, Madonna told Cynthia McFadden to “look it up” — we did; the term means “minimal” or “crude” — before smiling slyly and taking a sip from her tea cup.
CORRECTION: The text is corrected to show that Gaye died almost 30 years ago (not almost 40 years ago).