Thicke Says No “Blurred Line” Between Idea and Expression

While news stories last week reported about Thicke’s admission during deposition that he did not write the hit song “Blurred Line,” Thicke on Monday responded to a memorandum filed by the Gayes family and Bridgeport Music, Inc. in opposition of Thicke’s Thicke v. Gaye.

Thicke criticized the expert witness for the Gayes was less persuasive as she failed to provide any transcription analysis possibly to avoid revealing “how different the notes are.”  Thicke further claimed his musicologist’s analysis dissecting the alleged similar parts into “notes, chords, and prior art to determine what original elements . . . are similar” (emphasis omitted) showed that “Blurred Line” and “Got to Give it Up” are “not the same and often not original to [‘Got to Give it Up’].”  For example, the cowbell parts common in both songs use Latin rhythms that are genetic and thus not protectable, according to Thicke.

Thicke further argued that the allegedly similar elements like repeating a note, featuring chorus or cowbell chimes, or descending notes on bass are merely ideas, which are beyond the protection afforded by the copyright laws.  Thicke concluded that since there are no “substantial extrinsic similarities” in the elements, the whole cannot be similar.  Thicke also stressed the fact that he was influenced by Marvin Gaye only supported he had access to Gaye’s music, but it was irrelevant in analyzing extrinsic similarities of the two songs to determine infringement.

California Federal District Court Judge John Kronstadt will preside over the trial which is scheduled for February 10, 2015.

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