Collaborators Robin Thicke, Pharrell Williams and T.I. have launched legal action against Marvin Gaye's family after the Motown star's relatives accused the trio of copying his work on their summer smash hit "Blurred Lines."
The Gaye family and bosses at Bridgeport Music, who own the rights to George Clinton's band Funkadelic's compositions, claim that "Blurred Lines" bears striking similarities to Gaye's "Got to Give It Up" and Funkadelic's track "Sexy Ways."
However, Thicke, Williams and T.I., named in the suit as Clifford Harris Jr., have filed paperwork to protect their hit song, insisting that they have not broken any copyright but were simply evoking the funk era with the track. In legal papers filed at California Federal Court on Thursday, the trio argue that "being reminiscent of a 'sound' is not copyright infringement. The intent in producing 'Blurred Lines' was to evoke an era."
According to the suit, details of which were obtained by editors at The Hollywood Reporter, the trio state that they "have the utmost respect for and admiration of Marvin Gaye, Funkadelic and their musical legacies, (but) reluctantly file this action in the face of multiple adverse claims from alleged successors in interest to those artists. Defendants continue to insist that plaintiffs' massively successful composition, 'Blurred Lines,' copies 'their' compositions."
The suit further claims the Gaye family is alleging that "Blurred Lines" and "Got to Give It Up" "feel" or "sound" the same, and that the "Gaye defendants are claiming ownership of an entire genre, as opposed to a specific work."
The Gayes and executives at Bridgeport Music are said to be threatening litigation should the trio not pay a monetary settlement, but rather than wait for a lawsuit to proceed, the plaintiffs are going to court to determine the parties' respective rights and obligations. In seeking a judgment, Thicke, Williams and Harris Jr. are not only looking for a declaration that their song doesn't violate the defendants' rights by copying their songs, but also that the "Gayes do not have an interest in the copyright to the composition 'Got to Give It Up' sufficient to confer standing on them to pursue claims of infringement of that composition."
"Blurred Lines" has continued to dominate the U.S. charts, and earlier this week the track hit its tenth consecutive week at the No. 1 on the top ten countdown.