Marvin Gaye’s family has made another round of demands in the “Blurred Lines” lawsuit, and while they’re good for our ears, they’re very, very bad for music.
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Gaye’s children won a lawsuit last week against Robin Thicke and Pharrell in which they alleged the songwriters copied Gaye’s 1977 hit, “Got to Give It Up,” when they wrote “Blurred Lines.” A jury determined Thicke and Pharrell would have to pay Gaye’s family nearly $7.4 million in damages.
Now, the family is going even further — they want to completely stop all copying, distributing and performing of “Blurred Lines.”
The injunction was filed in court Tuesday, according to the Associated Press. In addition, Gaye’s family hopes to amend the verdict to include rapper T.I., who cowrote “Blurred Lines” with Thicke and Pharrell.
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“With the digital age upon us, the threat of greater infringement looms for every artist,” Gaye’s family said in a statement Wednesday. “It is our wish that our dad’s legacy, and all great music, past, present, and future, be enjoyed and protected, with the knowledge that adhering to copyright standards assures our musical treasures will always be valued.”
The injunction means we could very well be spared from having to hear “Blurred Lines” again. The song was 2013’s biggest hit, selling more than 7 million tracks. Even if you liked it in the first place (despite it’s rapey vibes and Robin Thicke’s general grossness), I’m willing to bet it’s been hopelessly stuck in your head so many times you don’t like it anymore.
However, the injunction — and the lawsuit in general — is bad news for music. Music is an art, which means musicians are constantly building on the work of their predecessors. Musicians frequently borrow from each other’s work in the form of sampling and remixing. They take what others have created before them and they use their own creative license to make it new again. If this suit is considered a legal precedent, it could seriously restrict the abilities of future artists to put their own spins on music made today — or in the past, like Gaye’s song.
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