Music producers, artists weigh in on 'Blurred Lines' verdict

Thursday, March 12, 2015
Music producers, artists weigh in on 'Blurred Lines' verdict
After Marvin Gaye's family was awarded $7.4 million in their copyright infringement claim for the song "Blurred Lines," many in the music industry believe it sets a terrible precedent.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Marvin Gaye's family rejoiced after a jury awarded them $7.4 million in their copyright infringement claim against Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke.

But for many in the music industry, the verdict sets a terrible precedent.

Paul Young is a professor at USC's Thornton School of Music and is a former executive at Universal Music Group.

Young said sounding like someone is not the same thing as stealing someone's composition.

"I tend to think that this is not a good precedent for the business, for future songwriters, record producers, label execs," he said. "This is about the feel, or the vibe, or the groove."

On Tuesday, a jury found that Williams and Pharrell based their mega-hit "Blurred Lines" on Gaye's 1977 hit "Got to Give It Up."

Money Mark, producer, recording artist and former member of the Beastie Boys, said musicians typically try to build on their influences, while respecting certain boundaries.

"I really believe that art and music, especially like how it evolves, you borrow. You get influenced by something and you incorporate it into your own sound," he said.

Thicke repeatedly mentioned in interviews that "Got to Give It Up" was one of his favorite songs and that it was an inspiration for "Blurred Lines."

In court, the attorney for Gaye's family argued that Williams and Thicke purposely set out to capture the essence of Gaye's hit, even if the songs did not necessarily share the exact same melody or lyrics.

They told jurors about a group of similar elements.

Scott Eric Olivier is a local producer and musician who has worked with acts such as Gwen Stefani and Michael Jackson.

"To be able to say this is a direct ownership of a beat or a rhythm I think is a little treacherous, legally," he said.

The attorney for Williams and Thicke said he owes it to his clients to appeal the jury's verdict.

Gaye's family will seek an injunction against "Blurred Lines," which will give them negotiating clout to get any future profits from the song, and possibly even songwriting credit for the late singer.

Richard Busch, the attorney for Gaye's family, said that the verdict will not cripple the creativity or harm the recording industry.

"The world is not coming to an end and we will all go on, and the music industry will go on," he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.