Robin Thicke and Pharrell File a Preemptive Lawsuit Over 'Blurred Lines' - Rolling Stone
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Robin Thicke, Pharrell Sue Over ‘Blurred Lines’

Preemptive action seeks to protect song from claims by Marvin Gaye’s estate, Funkadelic

Robin Thicke performs in New York City.

Robin Thicke performs in New York City.

Kevin Mazur/WireImage

In a preemptive strike, Robin Thicke, Pharrell Williams and Clifford Harris Jr. are suing Funkadelic and the estate of Marvin Gaye over “Blurred Lines,” claiming yesterday in a court filing in California that the summer smash is “starkly different” from Gaye’s “Got to Give It Up” or Funkadelic’s “Sexy Ways.”

“There are no similarities between plaintiffs’ composition and those the claimants allege they own, other than commonplace musical elements,” reads the suit, which was first mentioned by The Hollywood Reporter. “Plaintiffs created a hit and did it without copying anyone else’s composition.”

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Gaye’s family and publisher Bridgeport Music, which owns “Sexy Ways,” have said “Blurred Lines” borrows too heavily from Gaye and Funkadelic, and the defendants are said to have threatened legal action if Thicke, Williams and Harris don’t provide a monetary settlement for the song. 

“The basis of the Gaye defendants’ claims is that ‘Blurred Lines’ and ‘Got to Give It Up’ ‘feel’ or ‘sound’ the same. Being reminiscent of a ‘sound’ is not copyright infringement,” the lawsuit states. “The intent in producing ‘Blurred Lines’ was to evoke an era. In reality, the Gaye defendants are claiming ownership of an entire genre, as opposed to a specific work, and Bridgeport is claiming the same work.”

Thicke, Williams and Harris Jr. intend for the suit to determine their rights to the song, and to also ensure that “the Gayes do not have an interest in the copyright to the composition ‘Got to Give It Up’ sufficient to confer standing on them to pursue claims of infringement of that composition.”


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