Notes - Adam Procter

Crisp, minimal personal blog theme for Hugo

15 Mar 2015

Blurred lines for copyright

Let start by saying I think the song ‘Blurred Lines’ is terrible and suggests that rape is ok and for that reason alone should have been removed from anyone’s playlists. However the recent successful ‘win’ for $7.3million as the song supposedly infringes on Marvin Gaye’s song ‘Got to Give it Up’ is a massive win for greedy corporations and totally dreadful for music and the creative industry.

Culture always builds on the past

“If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants” - Sir Issac Newton

Culture is and will always build on the past (Lessig, 2008). Now although this is not a remix it is clear that Thicke and Williams gained inspiration from Marvin Gaye, I mean they mentioned him in every interview. However their claim was they did not attempt to remix or copy this song and they went to great lengths to show how many songs are built around a host of chords, and that on their part there was no attempt to ‘sucker’ people into buying Blurred Lines by tricking people by using a well know successful song as the formula to success.

Personally I see very little similarities between the song other than using a simular percussion instrument and having people in the background sounding like they are at a party. I am sure if I spend the time I could locate many funk tracks that have a similar groove.

  • Can a song with a similar groove just be a success again?
  • Do people just buy records if they think it’s another artist ?
  • Did people buy it because they thought it sounded like Marvin Gaye ?
  • Did this song distract or reduce sales for Mavin Gaye records?
  • Did the record label see $17 million sales and hire an aggressive lawyer (after $25 million) to gain a piece of said pie? Would they have bothered if it was a flop?
  • Will artists now create better music as some have suggested?

I totally disagree this is in any way good for the creative industries or will ‘make’ for better music, all this suggests and makes way for is more artists will be more likely to be sued for so called infringement and I suspect will become more cautious in the studio as a result.

Please watch RIP a remix manifesto and Everything is a Remix to understand why this verdict is terrible for the creative industries.

See the Verve - Bitter Sweet Symphony v Rolling Stones, Men at Work - Down Under v Larkin Music. These are all terrible decisions. The list could go on and will now no doubt grow bigger now. A win for corporations, greedy relatives who had nothing to do with the original song in the first place and a loss for artists. Would Marvin have sued Pharrell Williams ?

I do not advocate someone taking another song and plagiarism in anyway but this case is in no way an act of plagiarism. Pharrell Williams is an artist and has and can make some fantastic music. See N.E.R.D.

This I think says it all from Rolling Stone Magazine “Marvin Gaye’s Family Discuss ‘Blurred Lines’ Verdict, May Target ‘Happy’ Next.”

The Guardian write better than me on this as well.