Thicke “Blurred” His Writing Credit

“Blurred Lines,” the pop song that became an instant hit and put Robin Thicke on the map is back in the lime light. When the song was noted for its similarity to Marvin Gaye’s 1977 classic “Got to Give it Up,” “Blurred Lines” “writers” Thicke, Pharrell Williams, and Clifford “T.I.” filed suit against the estate of Marvin Gaye to protect their song against claims of being a rip-off. Gaye’s estate filed a cross-complaint accusing the plaintiffs of making an unauthorized derivative of “Got to Give it Up.”

Perhaps more interesting than the case itself is a recent court deposition where Thicke revealed he is not in fact, a co-author of the song; even though he previously claimed to be part of the song writing with Williams and “T.I.”

In the April 2014 deposition, Thicke testified that Pharrell Williams really wrote the song. Thicke testified that he was high on Vicodin and alcohol when he showed up at the studio to “write” the song, and that he does not recall contributing. Thicke said “I wanted to be more involved than I actually was by the time, nine months later, it became a huge hit and I wanted credit. So I started kind of convincing myself that I was a little more part of it than I was and I – because I didn’t want him – I wanted some credit for this big hit. But the reality is, is that Pharrell had the beat and he wrote almost every single part of the song.”

Despite only being the singer on the recording of “Blurred Lines,” Thicke was given a co-writer credit, entitling him to about 18-22 percent of publishing royalties. Williams testified that co-authorship credit like this happens “every day in our industry.” Williams acknowledged that Thicke did not write the song but still gave Thicke a writer credit. Williams said “people are made to look like they have much more authorship in the situation than they actually do. So that’s where the embellishment comes in.”

The depositions got hostile when Williams claimed he could read sheet music, but seemed to fumble when he was shown a song transcription and asked to identify musical elements. Williams responded that he was not comfortable and grew more irritable as the defendant’s attorney pushed the issue of his ability to read music.

Attorneys for Thicke and Williams argued that the disclosure of the April depositions were hardly relevant and merely intended to “distract attention from the real issues and to embarrass, harass, and annoy Plaintiffs.” The trial is currently scheduled for February 10th, 2015.

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