Blurred lines Case Appears No Clearer

music copyright

The infamous ‘Blurred Lines’ music copyright verdict, which ultimately decided that musicians Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke were guilty of copying Marvin Gaye’s 1977 hit ‘Got to give it up’ has returned, this time in the Court of Appeal.

A report of the original case can be read here. At the time, the case proved detrimental to the career and reputation of Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke after they were ordered to pay $7.4 million in damages to the estate of Marvin Gaye. The case highlighted the potential seriousness of the consequences for artists that copy other musicians. It also led to a flood of similar claims, including one involving Ed Sheeran.

Last week it emerged that Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke made attempts to reverse the decision before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeal, arguing that a legal error was made in the original verdict.

The attorney for Williams and Thicke has expressed that the case is not about whether the two songs have the same ‘feel’ to them but rather whether there has been an outright copyright infringement? According to the Hollywood Reporter, the appellants attorneys are also contending that Judge Kronstadt made errors in coming to his decision in a number of ways, one of which being the fact that he allowed the Claimant’s musicologists to draw inferences beyond what was in the sheet music.

Williams and Thicke have managed to get 200 musicians to support them in their case. They continue to believe that the similarities between the two songs are not enough to warrant copyright infringement. Forbes has reported how the case effectively allowed the Claimants to claim an entire genre as the two songs were judged on their ‘feel’.

It will be interesting to see how the appeal plays out as the outcome is likely to affect the music industry to a great extent.

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Edinburgh-based Tidman Legal is a firm of specialist intellectual property lawyers.