“Blurred Lines” Copyright Suit Set to Go to Trial

On Thursday, October 30, a California District Judge denied Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams’ motion for summary judgment to end the suit revolving around their song “Blurred Lines.”

The recording artist and his producer went on the offensive in August 2013 by filing a lawsuit seeking declaratory relief to protect their song “Blurred Lines” from Bridgeport Music and Marvin Gaye’s children, who were threatening their own actions claiming copyright violations.  The plaintiffs filed a motion for summary judgment to end the lawsuit in their favor back in July claiming any similarities between the songs did not amount to copyright infringement.

The judge ruled in Thursdays order, however, that the defendants provided sufficient evidence to show that certain elements of their copyright songs may be substantially similar to “Blurred Lines.”  To settle the issue of similarity of the signature phrases, hooks, bass lines, chords, harmonic structures, and vocal melodies, a fact-finding jury would be required.  The jury’s analysis, however, will be limited to the sheet music deposited with the copyright office, which eliminates five of the eight alleged similarities.

The trial is currently scheduled to begin on February 10, 2015.

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