Marvin Gaye Estate Comes Out on Top in Controversial "Blurred Lines" Case Appeal

2013 was a long ass time ago. Can we stop talking about "Blurred Lines" now?

robin thicke

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robin thicke

Five years have passed, and yet here we are still talking about "Blurred Lines."

The Blurred Lines appeal opinion is out. It mostly upholds the (bad) district court ruling. This dissent is worth reading, dense with citations, and musically coherent

— Parker Higgins (@xor) March 21, 2018

Wednesday, a federal appeals court upheld the $5.3 million judgment against "Blurred Lines" performers Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams. The 2-1 vote, as Reutersreported, marks another victory for the family of Marvin Gaye. Specifically, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decided that Gaye's 1977 song "Got to Give It Up" should be given broad copyright protection.

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The Gaye estate, per the vote, will receive half of all future royalties from the track. Interscope and T.I. have not been held liable. While the Gaye family has characterized this latest legal development as a "victory" for all artists, others are far from convinced.

As Williams explained back in 2015, the Gaye estate's argument signals a potentially detrimental future for creators. "This applies to fashion, music, design...anything," he told the Financial Times. "If we lose our freedom to be inspired, we're going to look up one day and the entertainment industry as we know it will be frozen in litigation."

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Circuit Judge Jacqueline Nguyen seemed to at least partially agree with Williams' assessment, writing in Wednesday's decision that the Gaye estate has effectively copyrighted "a musical style," thus broadening the scope of future litigation. Howard King, an attorney representing both Williams and Thicke in the proceedings, reaffirmed his clients' stance Wednesday that "Blurred Lines" and "Got to Give It Up" are "two entirely different songs."

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