Marvin Gaye’s family won a victory over the song “Blurred Lines.” They took Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke to court over this song’s infringement on Marvin Gaye’s tune “Got to give it up.” My understanding is that now Williams and Thicke are appealing the verdict. As a musician, I have played both of these songs “many” times. I have perfect pitch, and I know “very well” the similarities between components of songs. While I am extremely happy for the Gaye family, I am a little puzzled as to what was used to prove their point. When comparing both songs and their components I don’t find any musical violations (other than the style of the music and maybe the drum beat). The drum beat could very well be stolen, but I don’t think you can copyright drum beats. As for the keyboard parts, they are not the same. The bass line is “definitely not the same.” The vocal melody line is definitely not the same. The keys of both songs are different. Yes, the style of the song was copied, but is that a copyright infringement? Obviously in this court of law, it was. I am interested in this case because I am a songwriter. I do not like to steal anyone’s material when writing my own tunes but it is important for me to know the rules so that I don’t make that same mistake. I can take just about any established song and change the elements of certain components. There are only so many musical notes out there to work with. I would never steal anyone’s vocal melody line and I would be very leery of trying to steal a key essential of any song. Songs need to be protected. That is what copyrighting is all about. That is also why we need to know the actual rules of what makes a song protected and that is why this case is really important. For right now, it feels to me as though the style of a song cannot be copied. That could cause the music industry to crash. I will keep an eye and my ears open for the final result of this case. Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought and as always I wish you the very best that life has to offer.
Singer Freddie Jackson in concert with Brett Jolly on bass guitar