I must admit that i was initially “shocked” to hear about the jury judgment against Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams. The jury had ruled that there was plagiarism and copyright infringement for the hit song “Blurred Lines” when compared to Marvin Gaye’s hit song “Got to give it up.” Here is the article link to the story:
I honestly didn’t think this result would happen. Don’t get me wrong, I “know” that they were trying to capture the essence of the song and that is something that is commonplace in the music industry. i get asked a lot to copy the style of certain songs when it comes to creating something original. So what happened here? Well, after carefully examining the details of the case, I found that during the court session they were only allowed to use the “sheet music versions” of the two songs. For those of you who don’t know, sheet music is the actual “written” body of a song (usually expressed through notes on a chart). I have found that there were “many” sheet versions of music that were “not entirely accurate.” I once saw the sheet music version for Stevie Wonder’s classic “I wish,” and that version had the key of his song in “D.” Well, Stevie mostly writes his compositions in “sharp” keys and on the recording this particular song was in “E flat.” There are also other sheet music versions of songs that were equally as wrong. When it came to Thicke and Williams, I believe that Thicke’s own testimony did him in. He once said that he didn’t try to steal it and then he said that he did try to steal it and then he said that he was “high at the time.” Well, that won’t solidify you too well in a jury’s eyes. I do know this much. The percussion parts of the song are just about “exactly alike” but MANY songs will use the same drum beats without copyright infringement (and it is supposed to be lawful as well). The keys of the songs are different. The chord progressions are different. The bass lines are entirely different and the melody lines are different. My understanding was that “musical experts” were brought in to explain the music because the jury couldn’t listen to the actual tracks of the song (Why this was the case i can’t imagine). Needless to say, Thicke and Williams are ordered to pay $7.3 million (which won’t even make a sizable dent in their collective earnings). I do believe that this verdict will be appealed and I will wait until that ruling is announced before conceding. In music, you can copy a “style” as long as you don’t infringe on the actual music. Now with this ruling that might actually change. Stay tuned and we shall find out. Congratulations to the Gaye family for sticking up to what they felt was “right.” They proved their cases and deserve the monetary award. Let’s see how this effects the music industry as a whole. Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought and as always I wish you the very best that life has to offer.
Comedian Chris Tucker, Brother Bill Jolly and Brett Jolly