Copyright

Blurred Lines: Prepare for Endless Frivolous Copyright Lawsuits

What Pandora's box of litigation did the ruling in favor of Marvin Gaye's estate in the "Blurred Lines" lawsuit open?

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VEVO

The Internet appeared to rejoice that Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke lost their lawsuit to the estate of Marvin Gaye over alleged copyright infringements in their mega hit song "Blurred Lines." It's not that the notoriously copyright-unfriendly Internet culture found religion on intellectual property privileges but that the Internet doesn't seem to like Robin Thicke. Fair enough. But as a number of commentators have noted, it's a silly reason to support such an awful ruling. And that ruling is awful even if you believe in relatively expansive intellectual property rights because it wasn't based on any copyright Marvin Gaye's estate owns on paper.

"Blurred Lines" is a 2013 pop song written by record producer Pharrell Williams, R&B singer Robin Thicke, and rapper T.I., but, as testimony in the copyright trial revealed, mostly by Williams, who has become a veritable hits maker in his career of 20+ years. The song does sound similar to "Got to Give it Up," the 1977 Marvin Gaye disco hit. You can listen to a "mash up" here, which lines up and exploits some of the similarities. The important point is that many of the elements that give "Blurred Lines" and "Got to Give It Up" a similar "sound"—the cow bell,  the keyboard, the falsetto—are not copyrighted. Gaye submitted only the sheet music for copyright, not because he didn't have the foresight but because it would be ridiculous to claim ownership on musical elements that were in use long before Marvin Gaye entered the scene. The Gaye family's original claim was that the bass line in "Blurred Lines" (totally different from the one in "Got to Give you Up") and the "defining funk of the cowbell accents" were copied. They weren't, as Joe Bennett explains

Williams said this on the witness stand, insisting "Blurred Lines" captured the "feel" of an artist and musical period Williams admired, but that doing so wasn't a copyright infringement. Can you imagine Bob Dylan suing Stealers Wheel because a lot of people mistake "Stuck in the Middle With You" for a Dylan song? Or Bruce Springsteen suing the guy who did "Walking on Memphis"? Does Biggie Smalls' estate now have stronger grounds if it chooses to sue Jay-Z? Unlike a bevy of contemporary pop songs that share the same four-chord progression, "Blurred Lines" relied neither on that progression nor on any progression recognizable in "Got to Give it Up." It didn't share any of the same notes or lyrics. The jury's ruling was based on a shared "sound" or "feel." 

Already Gaye's daughter has said she agrees with online commentary that another Pharrell Williams hit, "Happy," sounds similar to the Gaye song "Ain't That Peculiar." How many elements of a dance song will the Gaye estate end up claiming as their intellectual property? The songs sound a lot less similar than "Blurred Lines" and "Got to Give It Up," but hit songs, by virtue of being wildly popular, will end up sometimes sharing some elements with songs that have been hits before. Hence the popularity of the four chord progression. The first time I heard Williams' "Come Get It Bae" on the radio I thought it sounded a little like a Katalyst song I hadn't listened to in years. They both have clapping and a female vocalist.

The "Blurred Lines" decision opens up the hip hop songbook, and really any contemporary musical piece, for a renewed look at possible copyright infringements of popular songs of days past. This is not the first legal decision that could have a profound effect on contemporary music.  In 1991 a district court in New York ruled in Grand Upright Music vs. Warner Brothers Records that the rapper Biz Markie infringed on the copyright to Gilbert O'Sullivan's "Alone Again (Naturally)" by sampling it in "Alone Again." As Chris Richards notes at The Washington Post, that decision made albums like Public Enemy's It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, the Beastie Boys' Paul's Boutique, and De La Soul's 3 Feet High and Rising impossible to produce legally. Instead, mainstream hip-hop turned to paying copyright holders to lift the most recognizable portions of 70s and 80s song and graft them unaltered onto their own compositions. See pretty much anything Puff Daddy did in the 90s.

As Richards points outs, Williams began his musical career, as part of the duo The Neptunes with producer Timbaland, in the wake of this shift in hip-hop, helping to move it from the lazy reliance on recognizable sampling to the composition, with the aid of new technologies, of beats from scratch. Richards lightheartedly suggests in the overly-litigious future Williams may find artists he can sue for building on his sounds. Of course, that would be no better. Worse, the more lawsuits Williams, Timbaland, and other musicians spend money on, win or lose, the more staked they, and the companies that publish their work, will be in a legal environment that encourages liberal litigation and infringement claims.

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201 responses to “Blurred Lines: Prepare for Endless Frivolous Copyright Lawsuits

  1. Especially annoying is the fact that Marvin Gaye has been dead for more than 40 years now, so this ruling does nothing to protect artists. It just protects worthless families that want to endlessly mooch off famous relatives.

    1. Re: Stormy Dragon,

      Especially annoying is the fact that Marvin Gaye has been dead for more than 40 years now, so this ruling does nothing to protect artists

      IP was never meant to protect artists. It was meant as a wealth-transfer scheme. Always had and always will.

    2. *cough* The King family *cough*

      1. They are shockingly and sadly aggressive, to the point of wanting payment even for things that mostly are about promoting King’s message.

      2. @Uncommon senses This is a victory for the music industry. In my opinion, this decision will not have a bad effect on the industry at all, it will simply prevent future copying without due credit. Soon there will be a precedent like this in the fashion industry also. Pharrell’s friend Marc Jacobs has been stealing the ideas of young designer named Angel Barta for 7 years. He copied her photos and designs for many brands. Read more details at http://goo.gl/vD967e

        1. No, it’s a victory for the music establishment if anything. It is fucking terrible precedent. There isn’t a song in the world that doesn’t sound like some other song. That’s how art works.

        2. In my opinion, this decision will not have a bad effect on the industry at all, it will simply prevent future copying without due credit.

          Read the article again. There was no copying worth the name. The jury basically through the law out the window.

          1. threw. sigh.

      3. But gosh all crickets, you’d think that the King Sisters and the King Cousins, being singers in the family themselves . . .

    3. 30 years.

      /pedant

    4. Mooching is the new creativity.

  2. Blurred Lines: Prepare for Endless Frivolous Copyright Lawsuits

    Wait. You think there is such a thing as a NON-frivolous copyright lawsuit?

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    HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA
    HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA
    HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA
    HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA
    HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA
    HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA
    HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA
    HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA
    HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA
    HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!

    1. Sure there is. If I come out with an album called PapayaSF’s Thriller that’s a direct copy of Michael Jackson’s, it would be valid to sue me.

      1. Pfft, that’s why you call it OldMexican’s Thriller. That way, he gets sued.

        1. And Col. Papaya collects the money from the sales, right?

      2. That seems more like fraud. But fraud is not IP law, it predates it and actually involves a victim.

      3. Thriller should be public domain by now anyway.

    2. I am supposed to see a sailboat?

      1. A white and gold sailboat.

      2. No, you are supposed to instantly become a prickly anarcho-capitalist because of OM’s thoroughly convincing argument.

    3. In the context where copyright is a thing, yes there are non-frivolous lawsuits.

      Believing that IP is illegitimate is a perfectly reasonable position to take, but that doesn’t mean that the merits of all claims are exactly the same.

  3. I can safely say that I’ve seen the Blurred Lines video dozens of times and not once, have I heard the music from it.

    1. And, now I have. DAMN YOU ALL TO HELL COPYRIGHT!

      Is it similar? Sure. But, style isn’t something you can copyright. They aren’t taking samples of the Gaye song and using them directly. You might as well say that the band that first played R&B is the only band than can play R&B.

      They aren’t covering the song or trying to pass themselves off as Marvin Gaye and touring under that name. So, where in the fucking fuck is the damage?

      1. But then the one and only legally-permitted blues band would sue over the “B” part. It’s turtles all the way down.

        1. Only one person is permitted to perform any music which uses the common 12 tone system common in most European derived music.

          1. That’s why all of my compositions use a triskadecatonic scale.

      2. This was my first thought. So, what, no more quests in fantasy because Tolkein did that already and his heirs and assigns might sue?

      3. “So, where in the fucking fuck is the damage?”

        It’s the Law Suit Lottery.

      4. I can’t imagine that this is hurting sales of Marvin Gaye records.

        1. “This dude Marvin Gaye gonna blow up now that famous people be using his music!”

          OTOH, kids accidentally listening to Marvin Gaye wouldnt be the worst thing.

      5. Passing themselves off as Marvin Gaye would be a trademark issue, not copyright.

        Has nobody else yet said how gaye this business is?

    2. …not once, have I heard the music from it.

      Like this optical illusion? I’ve been told that there’s a sailboat in the picture, but I still can’t see it…

      1. I think you’d have to first pass this test to see any sailboat(s) there: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C3viQHsBFc4

        1. I will settle for not seeing the sailboats 🙂

        2. Sailboat?

  4. How does this fit with people covering other songs?

    1. No change. Just pay the proper royalties as always.

  5. What Pandora’s box of litigation did the ruling … open?

    Careful, Ed. I think “Pandora’s box” may be copyrighted.

    1. I think your chances of being sued by Greece over something like that is probably pretty good these days.

  6. Put me in, Coach…

    1. 2 more words and John Fogerty owns your house.

    2. I prefer First Class

  7. As long as any court winnings are taxed with some of that being transferred to me I am all for this.
    -Prog

  8. Terry Pratchett is dead 🙁

    1. “He is dead!” – Lady Jessica
      “I know.” – Paul

      1. Fucking love Dune.

        1. If you haven’t seen it, Jodorowsky’s Dune is worth checking out.

          1. I saw it.

            While Lynch’s Dune was a giant pile of shit, if Jodorowsky actually made the movie it almost certainly would have sucked worse. 12 motherfucking hours? Jesus.

            Also the films he made that I did see (El Topo, The Holy Mountain, and Santa Sangre) were just garbage. I mean real, undiluted, distilled shit. It’s the kind of pretentious navel-gazing schlock that the words avante garde have come to advertise like Las Vegas neon.

            He did manage to collect some serious talent.

            1. Why is it so hard to believe that people might genuinely like pretentious navel-gazing schlock?

              1. It’s not hard to believe people have shitty taste, Michael Bay still makes movies.

                But I’m still going to call shit shit and personally dislike and lambaste it for being shit. I’m also going to rhetorically roll my eyes at people who pretend that shit isn’t shit.

                If you like shit (??) feel free to continue liking shit.

                1. Well, you may have a point, but you will need a better argument for it’s being shit than that you don’t like it.

                2. See, the thing is, it isn’t shit. It is some movies. So calling it shit means nothing.

                  I haven’t seen any of the things you mention, so I don’t know what I think of it. But I reject that pretentious navel-gazing is in itself enough to make something bad art.

                  1. But I reject that pretentious navel-gazing is in itself enough to make something bad art.

                    Fine, whatever.

                    I reject the notion that pretentious self-indulgence is in itself artful, which is what “avant garde” has come to describe.

                    Of course, by your own admission you lack the frame of reference to discuss the topic. So, there’s that.

    2. I suppose Death opted not to be a line cook for the day.

      1. NICE.

  9. Blurred Lines: Prepare for Endless Frivolous Copyright Suits

    Mercy mercy me.

  10. The other thing about this is that it is Marvin Gaye’s family that is suing. Copyright is sold as a way of protecting artists’ rights and to ensure people have an incentive to create art because they can profit from them. Okay, what did Gaye’s family ever create? In this copyright is nothing but a gravy train for a bunch of deadbeat relatives of the artist. Copyright ought to die with the artist and within a set number of years if owned by a corporation.

    Beyond that even, if copyright morphs into “anything that is even arguably derivative from the original work”, then copyright will become the monster that destroys our art. All art is derivative in some ways of something. If you can’t let people profit from art in any way derivative, copyright will do the exact opposite of what it is intended to do and destroy the incentive to create art rather than preserve it.

    1. Re: John,

      Copyright is sold as a way of protecting artists’ rights

      Do you really expect honest and principled consistency with logic from property rights-trashers like IP-ers?

      1. OldMexican, I suspect that if you were an author or musician or songwriter, you’d have a more positive view of intellectual property rights.

        1. I suspect it wouldn’t.

          He’s been pretty consistent and principled in his defense of actual property rights.

        2. Not after he was dead.

    2. Copyright ought to die with the artist and within a set number of years if owned by a corporation.

      That’s essentially the system now. Your proposal would lead inevitably to every artist putting their copyrights into an LLC and that “set number of years” would get longer and longer in proportion to the age of Mickey Mouse or whatever imaginary creation has enough lobbying power. Statutes are good for those who use aggression to line their pockets, and detrimental to everyone else.

      1. Yeah. I hadn’t thought about the ability to form a corporation. The solution is that they ought to last for 25 years and then maybe an addition 25 after that, with the payment of a substantial yearly fee after the 25 year mark. Part of the problem is that the rights are free. So there is no cost to keeping them and only benefit for enforcing them. The whole point is to enable people to profit from their creation. If you are not profiting enough to pay the fee, there is no need to keep other people form using your creation as they see fit.

        Copyrights are not property in the conventional sense. Conventional property is something only one person or entity can own. Your owning your land or your car has nothing to do with what I do with my land and my car. Your owning the copyright to something is not the same. It is entirely about what other people do. It is not a right for you do do anything or own something. It is a right for you to prevent other people from doing things. For that reason, I would argue they are not property at all. They are a government benefit and should only be available as long as society as a whole benefits from it.

        1. That sounds like a pretty good plan. Or you could just make copyrights non-transferable. You can either keep the copyright or let it go into the public domain.

        2. Yeah. I hadn’t thought about the ability to form a corporation. The solution is that they ought to last for 25 years and then maybe an addition 25 after that, with the payment of a substantial yearly fee after the 25 year mark.

          Why 25 years? Why not 22 or 24? Perhaps 31? And how iron clad could the fee system possibly be? If history is any indicator, the applicability of a fee after a set amount of arbitrary and easily changeable time, will be inversely proportional to the lobbying power of copyright holders.

          It is a right for you to prevent other people from doing things.

          That is the case for regular (that is valid) property titles. Property is entirely about other people. If you were the last man on Earth there’d be no need for property rights, but when you’re not alone you need to either kill, enslave and dominate everyone else or devise a system of rules for exclusive ownership.

          For that reason, I would argue they are not property at all.

          I’ll agree with that.

          They are a government benefit and should only be available as long as society as a whole benefits from it.

          But not that. That’s the same premise underlying all sorts of socialist programs and monopolies and it’s wrong for the same deontological reasons. A benefit derived from the aggressive use of force has no ethical basis to exist.

          1. I am sympathetic with the idea of killing it altogether. I am not however enough of an anarchist not to be okay with a limited form of it. Ultimately, you don’t need to prevent me from doing anything to enjoy your property. Sure, you can prevent me from going on your land but you don’t have to for you to be able to enjoy it. That element doesn’t exist in copyright. The entire value of copyright is in your ability to get the courts to coerce other people into not doing something. And that I think makes it not property but a legal benefit.

            1. I frequently toss out the line “Intellectual ‘Property’ isn’t.”

            2. Sure, you can prevent me from going on your land but you don’t have to for you to be able to enjoy it.

              That’s not for you or any other hypothetical trespasser to say. If they did have a say, it wouldn’t be property.

              That element doesn’t exist in copyright. The entire value of copyright is in your ability to get the courts to coerce other people into not doing something. And that I think makes it not property but a legal benefit.

              I have no disagreement with you on that count. But that doesn’t exactly support the case for the continued existence of statutory copyright law and regulations.

              The only somewhat reasonable defense of the spirit of copyright, though not the laws as they are, would be “copyright” as agreed by contract proposed by David Friedman. Where consumers agree by contract not to reproduce the content and redistribute it et cetera. But that approach also precludes heavy handed state subsidized enforcement that is the current norm. In the contract law approach “copyright” holders would be footing the bill for enforcement and so copyrights might still exist by contract with consumers, they’d be very limited in number and scope due to the impracticality of enforcing such a stringent contract on potentially billions of people. There is no financial incentive to squeeze blood from millions and billions of turnips, unless you have tax payers to fleece.

          2. If it all comes down to the lobbying power of the copyright holders, there really isn’t any point to doing anything, is there? Get rid of the whole notion of IP and they will just pay off legislators to bring it right back.

            1. Statism 101. Equally applicable to all manner of state produced injustice. That doesn’t mean you just reflexively accept and legitimize statutory IP law.

            2. U.S. Constitution: Article 1, Section 8
              Congress shall have the power “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;”
              So, the concept of IP is not going away and is in the hands of the geniuses we elect to Congress.

      2. Maybe copyright should be for a set number of years or until the death of the artist. Something like minimum of 10 years if the artist dies, or a maximum of 25 if the artist is alive. Plus, selling the copyrights would have no effect on those numbers.

    3. *In this copyright is nothing but a gravy train for a bunch of deadbeat relatives of the artist*

      So much worse than no-talent deadbeat loser recording ‘artists’ blatantly stealing other’s work and not giving credit. Right.

    4. If copyright died with the artist, would we see a rise in murders of artists (so that someone else can record their hit?)

  11. Well, I guess Wierd Al Yankovic is next in line since he copied the entire music of “Blurred Lines” and just changed the Lyrics for “Word Crimes”.

    I’m curious as to weather Wierd Al has even been sued or paid royalties for making parody songs of other people’s music.

    1. Although he doesn’t have to, I believe he always asks permission first.

      1. Yankovic’s quoted as saying the only person who ever turned him down for permission was a short, little angry guy from Minneapolis.

        1. Yeah, what he doesn’t mention is that he told him he could use his music if he could score a basket on him. Weird Al failed.

          1. Huh. Never heard that story.

            1. Prince can ball, man.

            2. He’s referencing a Dave Chapelle skit, not something that actually happened to Weird Al.

              1. JW is kidding. He’s well aware of Charlie Murphy, who lives in JW’s basement.

        2. Sounds like a real prince.

      2. Coolio allegedly turned him down for Amish Paradise. That’s still disputed though.

        1. Whether Coolio did or not, Coolio’s agents approved it, which is what matters from a legal standpoint.

          1. I thought it didn’t matter from a legal standpoint since it was parody.

    2. I’m curious as to weather Wierd Al has even been sued or paid royalties for making parody songs of other people’s music.

      No, but only because he always negotiates permissions before he writes the parodies.

      1. I wonder what happens when it turns out he negotiated permission to borrow stolen property?

      2. Though not for his polkas, I think.

        Still, it’s all parody, which is well protected.

    3. Technically Weird Al pays royalties for all his parodies because the copyright on the music is different from the copyright on the song,

      So basically he pays the composer royalty so he can use the music but he does not have to pay any of the other royalties that would be involved in making a cover of a song.

    4. I believe there is supreme court precedent that protects parody songs. So Al is good. And he does ask permission. Most artists are thrilled to be the subject of a Weird Al parody since he is clever and not at all nasty.

  12. Already Gaye’s daughter has said she agrees with online commentary that another Pharrell Williams hit, “Happy,” sounds similar to the Gaye song “Ain’t That Peculiar.”

    And Eric Carmen’s “All By Myself” is based on the 2nd Movement of Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No.2 in C minor, Opus 18.

    And if you think he didn’t face the same kind of ridiculous harassment from “Estate” owners who received ill-gotten shush money, think again. Artists all over have been protected!

    1. Ha. I first read that as Eric Cartman.

  13. Ok, so yeah, apparently Wierd Al’s song’s count as “fair use” but “Blurred Lines” doesn’t.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/“Weird_Al”_Yankovic

    Seriously, WTF?
    I bet this judgement is completely overturned on appeal.

    1. Parody is one of the easier areas, as it’s supposed to be a protected fair use because it’s impossible to do parody without using the underlying work that’s being made fun of. There isn’t a fair use to just use something because you want to, assuming what you’re using is clearly the protected work of someone else.

      In these cases, I think the bar is too low for detecting infringement.

    2. Yes. We get blatant fanfiction that isn’t even canon-compliant (or good, I also argue, though that is subjective) like Wicked, but don’t have a similar sounding bass line OR ELSE.

      Such bullshit.

      1. The underlying work for “Wicked” isn’t public domain by now?!

    3. I certainly hope that it gets overturned. I was actually shocked to hear that the Gaye estate won. I didn’t think that shit was that far gone.

  14. I think it’s pretty obvious that they copied the song from Marvin Gaye. If you are an IP communist totally opposed to copyright, I suppose you have a gripe with this verdict. Otherwise, seems reasonable to me.

    1. I support limited copyright protections (similar to patents) to encourage production, but media should generally become part of the public domain rather quickly in my mind.

      1. Yes. Part of the problem here is that copyright has become effectively endless. If this song had been released two years after Got to Give It Up and Gaye sued, the case wouldn’t be so bothersome. We could live with broader rules on what infringes and what is just similar if copyright had a more limited term. Since it doesn’t, the rule seems to be no one can forever more make a dance song that sounds like Got To Give It Up without giving all of the money they make to Marvin Gaye’s heirs.

    2. The problem is that every song is copied from others in some form. The question where is the line? One the one hand you have something like the Beach Boys taking Sweet Little Sixteen and just changing the words to make Surfing USA and on the other you have half the rock and roll bands in history ripping off the cord progression of various Chuck Berry songs. The first is clearly an infringement and that latter shouldn’t be. This case looks very close to the latter case. And that is not good for art or society.

      1. Every Zeppelin song off their first two albums was a rip off of old blues.

        1. Some of them were straight covers but others were not. But of course those blues songs were stolen from other blues songs. You can’t untangle it all.

        2. Every real blues song is a ripoff of another blues song. It’s probably impossible to tell what hasn’t been borrowed or copied within the entire 12 bar blues canon.

      2. Beyond that, Appalachia could sue every 1960s folk artist and Europe could then sue Appalachia. Seriously, this is insanity. Ideas are not property.

    3. In case you missed the link :
      ?Blurred Lines is 120 beats per minute.
      ?Got To Give It Up is 122 beats per minute.
      ?Both songs feature a syncopated cowbell part and an electric piano (Gaye’s bassline is actually played on a 1976 RMI harmonic synthesiser).
      ?The vocal melodies and lyrics of the songs are very obviously different from one another.
      ?The songs have different chord patterns from each other.
      ?The recordings are in different keys; ‘Blurred Lines’ is in G; ‘Got To Give It Up’ is in A.

      1. Damn, way to bring the musicology Hazel.

      2. fellow music nerd approves

      3. I heard the beginning parts for both, played back to back, this morning on the radio. My reaction was “They don’t sound the same” and then the radio host came on to say how obviously similar they sounded.

    4. No, they didn’t “copy” it. They imitated the style. Those are very different things. Had they copied the song, it would have the same melody or lyrics or some part that was actually identical. And there isn’t. There are fuck loads of songs that sound similar to other songs. That’s kind of how popular music works.

  15. Whatever Robin Thicke’s sins as a man or as a musician, he introduced my grateful eyeballs to the magic that is Emily Rata…j…kow…ski, and for that I hold the man in fairly high regard.

    1. So, a positive “reax-on” then.

      [From the Alt-Text]

    2. the magic that is Emily Rata…j…kow…ski

      I don’t even have that to interest me 🙁

      There is literally nothing that is going to make me listen to this crappy song and judge for myself.

      1. If you don’t want to watch the music video you can YouTube her Carl’s Jr. commercial.

    3. the magic that is Emily Rata…j…kow…ski

      There is something seriously off about her face.

      1. The over-inflated lips are not great, but she has a mindblowing body and the rest of her face is amazing. She’s stupid levels of hot. And she shows her tits in Gone Girl, though it’s not like she hasn’t done tons of nudity already.

        1. That was her? Literally the only bit of that movie worth watching.

        2. I hope you are aware there is an NSFW version of Blurred Lines. I assume everyone knows that, but just in case…

          1. Oh I know. I KNOW.

        3. That picture just reminds me of Sandra Bernhard. Which is not a good thing.

    4. Also, Jessi M’Bengue. Yow. As a man dating a black woman, I heartily approve.

      1. Hurry up and make more me-s.

        1. You are sui generis, I’m afraid. When they made you they broke the mold and executed the mold-maker.

            1. You binge-watch youtube the way some people do Netflix, don’t you?

              1. I’m just a weirdness magnet. I don’t have to look for it, it just comes to me.

              2. Also, this is the reason, having spent my early twenties listening to Skeptic’s Guide et al., that I no longer take the movement seriously. Because conspiracy cranks may be nutters, but they’re also hilarious and harmless. And when they’re being obstreperous douchebags, you have Buzz Aldrin knocking one in the gob. It’s a bipartisan effort with lunatics on both fringes making their respective parties look bad. What’s not to love?

                1. Paranoid schizophrenics need a union too.

                  1. Union benefits include subsidized treatment, a plethora of real voices to add to those you already hear, and permanently losing your 2A rights.

      2. Yes, she blows Emily away. She’s the only one I watch during the video and don’t understand why she isn’t get the same attention as the white girl.

        1. Different strokes for different folks. I’m just glad they shared….

  16. “This is the most blatant case of false advertising since my suit against the movie The Neverending Story.”

    “Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, do these sound like the actions of a man whose had ALL he could eat?”

    1. + 2 Lionel Hutz

  17. my co-worker’s half-sister makes $86 hourly on the internet . She has been without work for five months but last month her pay check was $15863 just working on the internet for a few hours. read this article……….

    ????? http://www.netjob70.com

  18. I would have sued for my father’s work to not be associated with Robin Thicke, but I guess that’s just me.

    1. TOO LATE

  19. One more Weird Al story. He asked permission of Mark Knopfler when he did the parody of Money for Nothing. Knopfler said he would give permission only if he was allowed to play lead guitar on the parody. Wouldn’t you love to have that quandary….I really want to use the song, but music legend Mark Knopfler insists on playing guitar for me.

    1. Most seem to have a pretty good sense of humor about Weird Al It certainly means you have well and truly made it.

      1. Actually Al tells a story about how someone asked Madonna about his “Like a Surgeon” parody and Madonna replied “I love it, if Weird Al does your song, it means you’ve made it”.

        Also, Al won’t cover a song without the artist’s explicit permission, even though he doesn’t need it. There’s a classic story about a mixup between him and Coolio over “Amish Paradise”, where his people thought permission had been obtained but Coolio says no such thing happened. Though if you’re such an egotistical douche that you won’t let Weird Al cover you (*cough* Prince *cough*), you don’t really deserve it anyway.

        Al will actually play unapproved covers in concert, he just won’t record them.

        1. Coolio was just pissed that Al’s song was superior.

        2. Apparently Prince isn’t the only one. According to Wikipedia, Jimmy Page and Paul McCartney have also refused.

        3. Why did he need Coolio’s ‘permission’ for him to cover a song that was just a rip-off of an older song?

    2. The Behind the Music episode on him is great. He got his first big break opening up for I forget what band at the Long Beach Arena. At this point he was literally this geeky guy with wild hair and an accordion. He bombed completely. He tells the story of walking out to his car after the show feeling really down and this kid comes up to him and says “hey are you Wierd Al Yankovic?” Weird Al’s heart sores at being recognized and says “yes” and the kid immediately says “well you suck”. It was the perfect Wierd Al story.

      1. Didn’t he really get going on Dr. Demento?

        1. Yes. the Long Beach Arena gig didn’t quite work out like he hoped. He started on college radio at UCSB.

  20. Stevie Wonder says it’s not the same song.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wpdQhK86Jek

    I defer to the genius.

    1. I defer to the genius.

      Always. Dude even made Sesame Street cooler.

    2. I love his stuff. Musical genius.

  21. Didn’t Hall & Oates recently sue some granola company for making ‘Haulin’ Oats’ cereal or something?

    I can’t go for that. Copyright laws are out of touch.

    1. I am pretty sure it was one of their rich girl daughters who pushed the suit.

      1. Total maneater, she was.

        1. She could rely on her old man’s money.

          1. Her lawyer makes her dreams come true.

        2. Hey, she was just trying to get some adult education

    2. ISWYDT

    3. You can’t hide from their private eyes (or their process servers, for that matter).

  22. Wait a minute. If the Gaye family can sue because the style of Thicke’s song is similar then won’t every rap musician ever be simultaneously suing every other rap musician? And zydeco musicians the same?

    1. And country musicians.

      I mean can you imagine how much money Johnny Cash’s heirs stand to make from this ruling?

      1. Two words, Willie Nelson. Not only did he write half the famous country songs made before 1970, he pretty much perfected the template for doing one. He is too nice of a guy and too stoned to do it, but Willie could bring a whole lot of law suits after this if he chose to.

        1. Besides, it isn’t as if any extra money that Willie got wouldn’t go right to the IRS.

          Or has he paid off his back taxes?

          1. He paid them off. All of his friends bought his ranch at an IRS auction and gave it back to him. He also did a record called The IRS Tapes and gave the proceeds to the IRS. He still tours relentlessly. I imagine Willie is pretty well off these days.

            1. I think we (the people) took like 30 million dollar write-down on his tax bill. I’m too lazy to look it up, but i remember because it was the same time I was paying taxes on my grad school stipend.

              The IRS audited me over the scholarship portion of my stipend and said I owed $440 in back taxes. They were wrong, but they went to the mat over that $440. It took me two years and over 50 phone calls and letters to get my $440 back. 6 weeks after they cleared that case I got a letter saying I was being audited for the next year of grad school and I owed $440 in back taxes. No lie. Having spent a couple hundred hours on the last round, I gave in to the oppressive will of the bureaucracy. It was the first time I ever compromised a principle for convenience sake.

              So even though I’m 100% in the right I’m getting no compromise from the IRS over $9,000 in annual income – meanwhile the IRS is writing off $30 million for some rich entertainer who unequivocally failed to pay his taxes. And you wonder why they say “libertarianism happens to people”….

        2. Wait til his heirs own all his songs.

    2. Don’t forget that very small sub-genre of zydeco rap.

    3. And zydeco musicians the same?

      For all we know, zydeco musicians are all suing each other, it’s just that no one can figure out their accents enough to tell.

      1. +1 boudin sausage.

    4. What about royalties over silence?

      http://ipkitten.blogspot.com/2…..-cage.html

      Turns out it was a prank, but the second guy to put a track of silence on his album did pay 1,000 lb to the first guy, so it wasn’t completely untrue.

      Apparently it was true that Cage’s publisher claimed royalties, but backed down quickly once the merits of the case became clear. Nonetheless, Batt claims that they then agreed to disagree publicly. The much-reported six figure settlement? Well, that was not entirely untrue ? Batt claims he handed over a cheque for ?1,000.00 ? that is six figures, right enough, if you count the trailing zeroes.

      1. Heck, Cage could sue any song made since 1952 claiming his song was sampled in the background.

        1. He actually plagiarized it.

          There was some turn of the century (er, last century) musician that published a song called “Deaf man’s fanfare” or something like that, that consisted entirely of no notes being played.

    5. And every musician in every genre.

      Rap musicians seem to understand better than most (probably because of the history of using samples) that using parts of other people’s music is not “stealing”. And if you think all rap sounds the same, you haven’t heard much rap. Unless you think all singing also sounds the same.

      1. There are a ton of “standard” rap meters. Same song, basically, with different lyrics.

        Early in the history of rap it was actually a big part of the genre – recording a response rap to the same beat. “Fly girl” and “Fly guy” songs come to mind, among a gazillion others.

        The same motifs also repeat throughout various rap styles. Much closer copying than even pop music, perhaps because the key elements are centered around the meter of the poetry.

  23. The similarities of the song seem pretty weak to mandate forking over millions of dollars to the family of a guy who has been dead for 30+ years for a song he wrote almost 40 years ago.

    1. The other thing is that to the extent that it sounds like the Gaye song, Gaye’s heirs probably benefited form that. If the two songs are so close, it is likely people who hadn’t heard of Gaye’s song ended up buying it when they likely wouldn’t have.

      How exactly are Gaye’s heirs damaged here? I can’t think of a single reason why they would have made any less money from Gaye’s recording because of this and in fact probably made more money. Yet, they are collecting millions of dollars.

      The whole thing is nuts.

  24. Six months ago I lost my job and after that I was fortunate enough to stumble upon a great website which literally saved me. I started working for them online and in a short time after I’ve started averaging 15k a month… The best thing was that cause I am not that computer savvy all I needed was some basic typing skills and internet access to start… This is where to start……===========
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  25. Six months ago I lost my job and after that I was fortunate enough to stumble upon a great website which literally saved me. I started working for them online and in a short time after I’ve started averaging 15k a month… The best thing was that cause I am not that computer savvy all I needed was some basic typing skills and internet access to start… This is where to start……===========
    http://www.jobs-check.com

  26. Let’s hope this insanity is overturned on appeal. If not, then yes, there will be feeding frenzy by deadbeat heirs and entertainment corporations.

    The writers of the first copyright laws in the US excluded songs from copyright protection, on the grounds that originality could not be proven. They were right. Copyrighting songs is a terrible idea, and we’re seeing why.

    1. Copyrighting specific recordings and specific written music seems as reasonable as copyrighting a book. You can’t really prove originality of a book either. Just who got it copyrighted first. But copyright for a particular sound or style is just terrible.

      1. Proving originality of a book is pretty easy. Two people independently writing substantially the same book is astronomically unlikely. Popular songs, on the other hand, are made up of standard elements that get reused and recombined endlessly, and are based on forms that in most cases predate modern copyright law. As has already been pointed out in this thread, ALL pop songs are derivative. There is a finite number of usable melodic phrases, chord progressions, and rhythms that the public find pleasing, and standard ways of arranging them. There is not a pop song available for sale today that does not include substantive elements that haven’t been used many times before. It’s just that in most cases, there’s not big money at stake. It’s only when “owners” of successful songs see a similarity to another successful song that they think they can sell to a jury of non-musicians who don’t understand how music works that these silly cases go to trial.

        1. Well, as far as songs go, I was only talking about specific recordings, which you can identify just as well as books, and written music and lyrics.

        2. And with books I was thinking more of someone copyrighting something that someone else wrote. I agree it is very unlikely that two people will write substantially the same book and more likely with songs. Which is why I specified recordings or written music which can be directly compared to supposed copies to see how they actually differ.

          1. It’s not working, though. In this case, the written music (which was the only thing Gaye’s heirs actually owned the rights to) and the recordings were shown NOT to be substantially similar, yet Gaye’s heirs still won.

            1. Which is why the outcome of this case was terrible. They own copyright to something. That something is not what was used in the new song. So they should have lost. This is a case of a terrible legal decision, not bad law (though I do think that copyright law is pretty bad at this point. I really think copyrights should be for a limited term, maybe 14 years or something, and that is it. If you can’t make money on something in 14 years, it’s time to let other people try.

              1. As far as songs are concerned, I don’t think the law can be fixed to prevent outcomes like this one. And, even in cases where two songs ARE substantially similar, copyright rights should not apply. As I’ve said, originality can’t be established in the first place, and it is simply in the nature of popular songs that they will have substantial similarities.

    2. The writers of the first copyright laws in the US excluded songs from copyright protection, on the grounds that originality could not be proven.

      Link?

      Recorded music did not exist in 1790 so obviously that wouldn’t have been copyrightable.

      Sheet music and song books, however, were copyrightable.

      1. The 1790 act did not cover sheet music and books. Copyrighting of music compositions was added in 1831. Publishers of music did not enjoy rights to recordings and performances of their works until the copyright act of 1909. (And yes, there were recordings in those days?piano rolls.)

  27. Six months ago I lost my job and after that I was fortunate enough to stumble upon a great website which literally saved me. I started working for them online and in a short time after I’ve started averaging 15k a month… The best thing was that cause I am not that computer savvy all I needed was some basic typing skills and internet access to start… This is where to start……===========
    http://www.jobs-check.com

  28. There’s a song in that video?

  29. Six months ago I lost my job and after that I was fortunate enough to stumble upon a great website which literally saved me. I started working for them online and in a short time after I’ve started averaging 15k a month… The best thing was that cause I am not that computer savvy all I needed was some basic typing skills and internet access to start… This is where to start……
    ============ http://www.job-bandana.com

  30. Most of pop music is four or five basic chord structures around 4/4 time.

    Marvin Gaye didn’t invent falsetto, nor did he invent the beat. The tunes aren’t the same. The bass line is similar, but not identical, and the words are different.

    I don’t see how this can’t lead to more lawsuits.

    Steve Vai and Coldplay though….that was complete plagiarism. Not in the manner of…but a direct rip.

  31. I’m always hearing similarities in music; in fact I find similarities in most things. However, although these 2 pieces mash up very well, they don’t sound musically similar to me.

    Here’s an example of 2 pieces I find similar to the point that I think it was deliberate, but not a copyright violation because it’s more the “feel” of the pieces that are similar:

    https://soundcloud.com/rebecca_oopsbaby/promises
    ?in=rebecca_oopsbaby/sets/barreracudas-promises

    https://soundcloud.com/frederic-bruno-2
    /the-cars-you-might-think

    Concatenate pairs of lines above to form 2 URLs.

  32. I’m in favor of copyright protection but this case is absurd. The jury ruled to give Gaye ownership of an entire genre. No element of the lyrics nor melody are the same in the songs. It really is an absurd and broad overreach. It is scary to think this is the new precedent.

    1. *COULD become new precedent if it is upheld and noted in an appeal. (since jury trials don’t create case law)

  33. To be safe I only listen to homemade music played on pots and pans invented on the spot and performed by players who have no idea what they’re doing.

    1. I used to do that every morning when I was little. WHERE WERE YOU?

  34. After this ruling I would not assume that to be safe.

  35. Wow, looks like Jay Z just admitted to plagiarizing today. Apparently, he copied a Swiss Jazz musician’s melody, and agreed to pay him royalties. I wonder if this case had anything to do with it…I have a feeling he is hesitant to go to court, after this verdict. This is the only site I could find with more info. http://www.nobofeed.com/storie…..-musician/

  36. The internet is not yet a government enforcement/regulatory entity. Who ever controls the content of individual sites and services, a private enterprise operations, can place their own rules on content and publication. If Marvin Gay’s estate were to file suit in court for copyright infringement, they would lose. However, if Reason.com decides they do not like what I write, Reason can refuse to publish my opinions, and I have no legal recourse, yet. The FCC, without any approval by Congress, is changing that. Congress needs to restrict the regulatory powers of federal agencies to internal operations only. Quasi legislative and quasi judicial powers need to be banned. As Obama is proving with his pen and telephone, the Legislative branch of government may as well no longer exist. Viva la revolucion.

  37. THIS $7.4M COURT RULING IS A STRONG BLOW against the music industry’s rampant fraud, hype and semi-talented BS masquerading as authentic, creative and original music. Too bad it took a federal jury with clear ears to spot the fraud within the hype.

    REMEMBER, IT WAS PHARRELL AND THICKE who originally initiated the litigation as a pre-emptive cover-up and protection for themselves from potential infringement lawsuits from the Gaye family, or anyone else. Pharrell and Thicke knew they were stealing from day one. Shame on them for stealing. Shame on them for lying about stealing. Shame on them for being unapologetic to the Gaye family, and their own music fans about stealing. Truly, there is no honor among thieves.

    DOES THIS RULING SET A BAD PRECEDENT? Sure. Like the precedent of just trying a bit harder to be truly original, artistically authentic and genuinely creative. Is that asking for too much from over-rated and over-hyped multi-millionaire entertainers? Surely, I may never trust anything produced or influenced by Pharrell or Thicke again. Their creative and artistic integrity will now be suspect at best.

    THE REAL DEAL BEHIND THE MUSIC INDUSTRY is that it really is an industry. There’s a reason it’s called show BUSINESS. Nona Gaye, a talented and struggling music artist in her own right, had every legal and financial right to be the primary and authentic beneficiary of her father’s artistry — as he wanted her to be — not semi-talented music hacks.

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