“Blurred Lines” Copyright Lawsuit Jury Barred from Listening to Original “Got To Give It Up”
Despite the alleged similarities between Robin Thicke’s hit song “Blurred Lines” and Marvin Gaye’s 1977 “Got To Give It Up,” the jury sitting in the copyright infringement suit will not hear the original recording of the song at all. On January 26, U.S. District Judge John A. Kronstadt in a pre-trial hearing ruled that the actual sound recording of the 1977 hit would be barred.
Judge Krondstadt ruled because Gaye’s performance in the original recording is not at issue, allowing interpretations of the musical composition would suffice for the jury. By listening to the song played by a keyboardist in court, the jury can focus on any similarities in compositional elements and not on the overall sound and atmosphere of the original recording. Moreover, the recording is currently owed by Motown, which is not a party in this lawsuit.
The decision clearly puts Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams in advantage, the co-writers of “Blurred Lines.” “We’re gratified that the judge recognized that what’s at issue is the lead sheet, the composition owned by the Gaye family, not the sound recording of ‘Got To Give It Up,’” responded Thick’s lawyer, Howard E. King, to the ruling.
On the other hand, the Gaye family’s counsel Richard S. Busch affirmed their confidence in winning the case saying,
“If there are restrictions on that, if we can’t put in all of our evidence, then we’ll see how that goes, but we feel very strongly upon our evidence that we feel we have a very strong case.”
The trial is scheduled to start on February 10. “Blurred Lines” best known for the controversial video featuring nude models stayed at the number one spot for ten weeks.