Friday, August 18, 2017

Blurred Lines: A verdict that could change tomorrow's music production!

Copy & PasteAlthough chances are great that the decision will be the subject of appeals which might last for years, it will surely resonate as a continuous warning in the mind of many contemporary music makers.
Of course, history is paved with numerous affairs that have opposed people for plagiarism, and even more since the arrival of the sampler which gives the possibility to copy and paste fragments of recorded music and turn it into something reputedly new, but this verdict is to be viewed as a real precedent from now on…

“Today’s successful verdict, with the odds more than stacked against the Marvin Gaye estate, could redefine what copyright infringement means for recording artists”, said Glen Rothstein, an intellectual property attorney. In the meantime, Larry Iser, an intellectual property lawyer who has represented numerous musicians in music copyright cases, criticized the verdict, saying: “Although Gaye was the Prince of Soul, he didn’t own a copyright to the genre, and Thicke and Williams’ homage to the feel of Marvin Gaye is not infringing…” A statement coming as a complement to Thicke and Williams‘s lead attorney Howard King who explained in his closing arguments that a verdict in favour of Marvin Gaye‘s family would have a chilling effect on musicians trying to evoke an era or create an homage to the sound of earlier artists. Williams adding that he only tried to mimic the feel of Marvin‘s music as opposed to use elements of his idol’s work…

No doubt as to how the lines can really seem… blurred whenever coming to make the differences between a real homage and a cleverly integrated music part of someone else’s music in a repertoire, in a world where so many actors have made themselves a name (and eventually a fortune) from the work of their elders. To that extend, one could also remember about the undeniable similarities in terms of concept between the Thicke‘s 2009 released ‘Million Dollar Baby’ and another classic by the likes of Marvin: ‘Trouble Man’… Meanwhile and although not considering legal action as of yet, the Gaye family has sounded off on another Williams-helmed mega-hit (‘Happy’), reported Billboard Magazine a couple of days ago. Nona Gaye (Marvin‘s daughter) stating she found similarities between the latter and ‘Ain’t That Peculiar’ which Gaye released back in 1965…

Whatever comes out of this, the doubt has now been cast on where the line is to be drawn for copyright infringement purposes, with countless trials potentially in the pipeline, justfied or not!

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