Blurred Lines vs Marvin Gaye: copyright infringement?

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tone

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« on: November 02, 2014, 01:12:41 PM »
This came up in another thread, and I wondered what y'all thought.

You may now have heard the news that the estate of Marvin Gaye are suing Robin Thicke & Pharrell Williams for copyright infringement over their song 'blurred lines' claiming its ripped off from Gaye's Got to give it up.

http://www.theguardian.com/music/2014/oct/31/robin-thicke-pharrell-blurred-lines-copyright-battle-marvin-gaye-family

Got to give it up


Blurred lines
clean version, family safe :p

So what do you reckon? Is it pinched?
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Boydie

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« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2014, 01:25:15 PM »

It will be an interesting one

I still believe only "melody and lyric" can be protected

The key part is this bit:

The judge also pointed in particular to the “substantial similarity” of the two songs’ “signature phrases, hooks, basslines, keyboard chords, harmonic structures and vocal melodies”. - I actually think this might be a "mis-quote" of what the musicologist said (see below)

Most of these refer to melodies - the keyboard chords and "harmonic structures" are just being used to support the case that they had been using the track as reference (which Thicke seems to confirm and deny in various statements / interviews - Thicke by name....thick by nature)

Eg if they claim they hadn't heard the original track an pd came up with the same melodies by accident - however, this would be difficult to argue with the other "non-protected" similarities

The "musicologist" working for the Gaye family is arguing:

[There are at] least eight substantially similar compositional features" with Gaye's original. The similarities are said to encompass the signature phrase, vocal hook, backup vocal hook, their variations, and the keyboard and bass lines -- "far surpassing the similarities that might result from attempts to evoke an 'era' of music or a shared genre"

Notice the difference "keyboard and bass lines" = melodies

I am sure there will be a settlement before this goes to court

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tone

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« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2014, 01:29:01 PM »
It's a shame Robin is so Thick as you pointed out in the other thread. And I agree, a settlement is far more likely than a judgement.

But if you listen to the two tracks, the only 'signature' element that blurred lines actually borrows noticeably is the cow bell. Everything else just 'feels' a bit like the other song.

Maybe there are similarities that I haven't picked up on yet, but if you take the prosecution's stance and apply it to blurred lines, the things that make it click are the vocal melody (original) the descending bassline (original) the harmonies (original) and the controversial lyric (original).

I just can't see it holding water. Will be interesting to see how it pans out though.
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Paulski

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« Reply #3 on: November 02, 2014, 02:21:56 PM »
Similarities: drums, crowd noise, tempo, chord progression (although BL holds the tonic a couple extra bars) - none of which IMO are copyrightable. The lead vocals and lyrics are enough different I don't think this is lifted. I've heard a lot worse stolen material.
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Jess

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« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2014, 02:44:03 PM »
Similarities: drums, crowd noise, tempo, chord progression (although BL holds the tonic a couple extra bars) - none of which IMO are copyrightable.
I wish we could sue Pharell for every song with crowd noise in it. The first time is was fun now it's EVERYWHERE in EVERY song on EVERY station ughhhhhhhhh.
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Boydie

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« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2014, 04:09:58 PM »
I haven't listened to them in detail compare yet but I think they are claiming the backing vocals from the Marvin Gaye track is what has been lifted?
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S.T.C

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« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2014, 10:07:29 PM »
Might be easier to listen to them together.

« Last Edit: November 02, 2014, 11:00:59 PM by songsthatcry »

nooms

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« Reply #7 on: November 02, 2014, 10:51:08 PM »
come on..
if you have to run them together to decide then morally its game over, the similaritys are just too close..
but thicke and co im sure know what theyr doing and just going for the hit sound..the contention adds immeasurably to the exposure and gives the song even more legs..
younger folks find marvin gayes amazing back catalog, everybody wins..
money will change hands and its goodnight irene
morally its wrong but funwise its a cool track and thats all the market really cares about
i may not believe this tomorrow...

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Neil C

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« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2014, 07:52:01 PM »
Similar stylistically but i hear two different songs IMHO. There are loads of others where there are far greater rips than this one ( my latest spot is Sam Smith - Stay with me and Tom Petty - Won't back down )  :(
Neil 
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James Nighthawk

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« Reply #9 on: November 26, 2014, 12:09:57 PM »
I also hear two songs

Cowbell, main chords and "vibes" stand out for me. None of which you can claim as unique. Some of the bass movements too - but then in this style, stabbed staccato tonics are pretty prevalent!

Doubt they'll get a penny, maybe a small settlement

I like both songs. I can definitely see the inspiration

Addendum - the "dancing baby" vocal add IS very similar to the "I know you want it" in BL. Thats the most egregious part for me  :-\
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tone

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« Reply #10 on: March 11, 2015, 09:26:21 AM »
The first track from my upcoming album has landed -- Click to listen -- Thanks!

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Boydie

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« Reply #11 on: March 11, 2015, 10:53:38 AM »
I think this will get over-turned

The "rhythm" is identical and there are similarities in the backing vocals

BUT - I still fundamentall disagree that "melody and lyrics" have been "copied"
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James Nighthawk

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« Reply #12 on: March 11, 2015, 11:19:23 AM »
I too was a little surprised by this.

I would love to see the musicologists' notes. Where they highlight the "rip off" sections. And how they maintain that combined, this equals a copy write infringement.

 
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benjo

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« Reply #13 on: March 11, 2015, 06:15:52 PM »

 i think these two songs are amazing

 but as soon as i hear the two it is just so obvious that there is copying going on here
 STC, put the mash up on and for me just confirmed it
 
 i'm not a musician in any way but listening to the mash up
 the similarity is incredible,
 i also think copying anything another artist has done should come under copyright
 
 does this mean that the THICKE song will be scrapped how can it be used again ?

 they will both just go on now to make even more millions

 

Paulski

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« Reply #14 on: March 11, 2015, 06:21:57 PM »
They say they're likely to appeal.. Apparently they are dealing with "Blurred Laws"