Marvin Gaye 'Got to Give It Up' recording barred from 'Blurred Lines' trial

Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Marvin Gaye 'Got to Give It Up' recording barred from 'Blurred Lines' trial
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The original recording of Marvin Gaye's 'Got to Give It Up' cannot be played for the jury in the upcoming trial over whether Robin Thicke and Pharrell William's 2013 megahit 'Blurred Lines' infringed on the late R&B star's song, a federal judge ruled Monday.

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- When you listen to Robin Thicke's smash hit "Blurred Lines" and Marvin Gaye's 1977 classic "Got To Give It Up," it's certainly easy to spot similarities. But a jury will have to rule on whether or not those similarities crossed over into copyright infringement.

The jury, however, will not get to hear Gaye's original recording, U.S. District Judge John A. Kronstadt ruled Monday during a pre-trial hearing.

Kronstadt ruled that Gaye's performance in the original recording is not at issue. He ruled that the jury will only hear interpretations of the musical composition -- not Gaye's voice.

That's a huge victory for attorneys representing Thicke and Pharrell Williams, who co-wrote "Blurred Lines" in 2013.

"We're gratified that the judge recognized that what's at issue is the lead sheet, the composition owned by the Gaye family, not the sound recording of 'Got To Give It Up'", Thicke's lawyer, Howard E. King, said.

But attorneys for Gaye's family say that Thicke and Williams stole key parts of Gaye's song.

"We feel very strongly about our case and we always have," Gaye family attorney Richard S. Busch said.

Proving that to a jury without the original recording will present more of a challenge.

"If there are restrictions on that, if we can't put in all of our evidence, then we'll see how that goes, but we feel very strongly upon our evidence that we feel we have a very strong case," Busch said.

Kronstadt told attorneys for both sides that they would have three days each to present their cases before an eight-person civil jury in Los Angeles federal court.

The case, which is set to begin on Feb. 10, could potentially be worth millions of dollars in damages. The smash best known for its controversial video, which features nude models, spent ten weeks at No. 1 and sold 4.6 million tracks.

CNS contributed to this report.