How the 'Blurred Lines' case could have chilling effect on creativity
J Thoendell stashed this in Music
Testimony in the Los Angeles federal court proceeding seeking to determine whether Thicke's groove-heavy, cowbell-driven 2013 pop hit "Blurred Lines" infringed on Marvin Gaye's 1977 hit "Got to Give It Up" has been nothing if not entertaining.
But let's not mince words: The lawsuit being litigated against Thicke, producer-songwriter Williams, rapper T.I. and their song is about cash, not artistic theft. If it hadn't hit big on the charts, no lawsuit.
Regardless of the ultimate verdict, the suit could have a chilling effect on creators, especially in an era when most every song in recorded music history can be accessed in seconds. What artist will acknowledge specific inspiration when it could be used as evidence in a copyright infringement suit?Specifically, the case is mostly about Thicke's ill-advised reference to Gaye's song during interviews and the bid by Gaye's estate and publishers to take advantage of the fuzzy line between inspiration and infringement, and monetize it.
"Feel but not infringement," Williams said on the stand of the differences between his track and "Got to Give It Up," which showcases Gaye's inimitable falsetto and disco-inspired rhythm. "I must've been channeling that feeling, that late-'70s feeling," he added. The Gaye estate, wrote Williams' legal team, is "claiming ownership of an entire genre, as opposed to a specific work."
This really is about money, not art.
By the way, the copying might be due to Kleptomnesia, according to Adam Grant: