With $7,3M awarded to the Gaye family, this week saw the end of

the most controversial trial that the music industry saw this year

and the verdict of the jury opens the door to biggest ambiguities on plagiarism…

Not a good week for Pharrell, who sees increasing uncertainty surrounding his creations. Pharrell dug his hole when he decided to “prevent” future actions and sue the Gaye family in first place.

From there, a beehive got shaken and opposite vibes start to spread.. Robin Thicke claimed in first place that “he was drunk and high on Vicodin” when he recorded “Blurred Lines”. He basically said that he was there but unconscious, Pharrell was doing everything alone, and that he just wanted some credit because he was jealous.

On the same line, Thicke told GQ that “Pharrell and I were in the studio and I told him that one0 of my favorite songs of all time was Marvin Gaye’s ‘Got to Give it Up.’ I was like, ‘Damn, we should make something like that, something with that groove.’ Then he started playing a little something and we literally wrote the song in about a half hour and recorded it.”

Ok, so while Thicke made the hole of the right size for Pharrell’s coffin, eight musicologists were consulted. Pharrell, when asked, said that actually yes, the bass line is soooo identical, but at the end Blurred Lines and Got to Give it Up have just the same feel.

So at this point Thicke, trying to cover the rests of the meal, appeared in front of the jury and played a few instruments and songs to say that a lot of songs are similar in the end. One point for Thicke.

The funny part is that the Gaye family doesn’t own the master rights, that means the rights to reproduce the song, but just the copyright, which means the sheet music. So the Gaye family can’t play the two songs in front of the jury.

The $7.3 million awarded to the family of Gaye beats the record on copyright infringement, previously held by  Michael Bolton – Isley Brothers’ “Love Is a Wonderful Thing” ($5,4 million). So even though Marvin Gaye died thirty years ago, his ex-wife Janis and his daughter Nona keep the flag high and hope to get a few more millions from Happy, Pharrel’s 2014 year, or any other song, at this point.

I would say anyway that the most relevant outcome of this trial is that now the poor souls who work in the business as composers, trying to put together a new score every week, are freaking out as they just don’t know where the new line in between plagiarism and authenticity lies.

As we grow up in music and we’re so overwhelmed by similar vibes, feels and moods, isn’t it just possible that we tend to copy without being aware that out work is not that original?

Can’t we be the victims of our culture when it comes to authenticity?


2 thoughts on “The Blurred Lines of PharrHell

  1. This ruling makes me kind of sick. I agree with Pharrell; the FEEL is similar, but as popular as that Marvin Gaye song is, it didn’t cross my mind in the least as I listened to Blurred Lines. I can only imagine the drama this case is going to cause.

    Every artist is influence by those who proceeded them. Neyo, Chris Brown, they obviously are very inspired by Michael Jackson, and both have songs where the beat and feel are very similar to a MJ song. Can his family sue them? Nick Jonas’ song, Jealous, is extremely reminiscent of a Prince song. Prince is still alive. I wonder if he is going to sue Nick now. I doubt it. Because I think these families are just out for money, and don’t respect MUSIC like the actual creators who are passed away now.

    I think this is apparent by the Gaye family not challenging Pharrell’s Happy song. lol. Now that is really a stretch. But why not? Sad day for the music industry.


  2. I honestly have to say that the feel is similar, but the song is slightly different. I think the key here is the attitudes of Thicke and how he acted before hand. I am sure Marvin Gaye’s family wouldn’t even have noticed the identical baseline, if Thicke hasn’t ran around and told everybody that they basically stole that from Marvin Gaye.


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