Robin Thicke Takes Center Stage in Court to Show No Copyright Infringement

From the witness box in a federal courtroom in Los Angeles, Robin Thicke sang, played the piano, and even danced a bit to demonstrate to the jury that his song did not infringe on Marvin Gaye’s “Got To Give It Up.

Thicke’s performance took place after U.S. District Judge John A. Kronstadt held in a pre-trial hearing that the jury would not hear the actual sound recording of Gaye’s 1977 hit.  Since Gaye’s performance in the original recording is not at issue, the judge found interpretations of the musical composition would be sufficient for the jury.

In addition to “Blurred Lines,” he also played U2’s “With or Without You,” “Michael Jackson’s “Man In the Mirror,” and the Beattles’ “Let It Be” to illustrate that many songs share the same chord progression.

Other than the unusual music performance, Thicke’s testimony mainly addressed the past interviews that discussed how he had asked Pharrell Williams to collaborate on something like “Gotta Give It Up.”  He testified that during those interviews he was often drunk and high on drugs and was trying to take some credit for what turned out to be the biggest hit of his career.

After he learned about Williams’ statement that the song had been written when Thicke came to the studio, Thicke realized that Williams was the sole writer of the hit.  Further, he admitted that his statements in the court documents about writing some of the verses were incorrect.  Moreover, he testified that he had lied to Oprah when he said Gaye “inspire[d] almost half of [his] music” but denied changing his story after the copyright infringement claim.

The jury is set to hear testimony from musicologist Judith Finell and Harry Wenger, a Universal Music executive who manages Motown recordings.

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