I am happy with the recent “Blurred Lines” ruling. Why? Because it proves that just because you are a powerful person in the music industry, you can’t just do what you want to do. I also feel that the recent ruling of this case will set an example to other artists who were thinking about doing the same thing that Robin Thicke and Pharrell did.
If it sounds like I have a personal vendetta against either of these gentlemen, this is not the case. I personally think that both Thicke and Pharrell are talented artists — which make me wonder why either would be involved in something like this. Thicke has a great voice and stage presence, and we all know that Pharrell is a talented songwriter. So why take another person’s song and try to make it their own? The only reasoning I can come up for this situation is that they were looking for an easy way to make a hit. Instead of working hard and coming up with their own musical sound, they decided to take the sound of Marvin Gaye‘s hit song “Got to Give it Up“, re-arrange the beats, and add a few lines from rapper T. I. Unfortunately this plan backfired on them.
The plan backfired because neither one of these guys did any research on copyright laws. I also must say that the legal department of their record label also didn’t do their due diligence. It will be interesting to see if either Pharrell or Thicke will appeal this ruling. I am also curious to see if T. I. will be involved in any future legal proceedings.
This recent court ruling should also prompt more of today’s artists to create their own brand and style of music versus trying to copy the sound of other classic singers. There was a time when most music artists had their own singing style. For example, you would never mistake the female R&B group First Choice for the Supremes, because lead singer Rochelle Fleming had a very distinctive voice from Supremes’ lead singer Diana Ross. Or, you could never mistake Helen Reddy for Cyndi Lauper because they had very different singing styles. A lot of people (including me) miss this unique brand of music – versus music that sounds computerized and mass produced.
I also read a recent article which stated that Marvin Gaye’s family may also seek damages regarding another Pharrell song, Happy”. If a lawsuit is filed on this charge and the Gaye family wins the case, I think it will put an end to artists using other artists’ songs forever. However, all this can be avoided if the artist pays for the right to use the song and files the correct legal papers.