It's been said that the best defense is a good offense. Possibly with that in mind, Robin Thicke, Pharrell Williams, and Clifford Harris, Jr. (a.k.a. T.I.) have filed a suit to protect their monster summer jam "Blurred Lines" from potential copyright claims by the family of late soul great Marvin Gaye and Funkadelic.
The "Blurred Lines" songwriters filed their lawsuit Thursday in California federal court against Marvin Gaye's family and Bridgeport Music, which owns a portion of Funkadelic's music publishing, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
When asked by Yahoo! Music's Billy Johnson Jr. about the similarities between "Blurred Lines" and Gaye's similar-sounding 1977 classic "Got To Give It Up," Thicke said, "There is no sample." But he admitted, "Definitely inspired by that, yeah. All of his music ... he's one of my idols. It's just something about that groove, that appeals; you know, sexy dance-floor groove. It doesn't try too hard but it just gets up in your bones."
The lawsuit expresses similar sentiments. "Plaintiffs, who have the utmost respect for and admiration of Marvin Gaye, Funkadelic and their musical legacies, reluctantly file this action in the face of multiple adverse claims from alleged successors in interest to those artists," it states. "Defendants continue to insist that plaintiffs' massively successful composition, 'Blurred Lines,' copies 'their' compositions."
Thicke and company are also fending off claims they copped Funkadelic's "Sexy Ways," an album track from the 1974 album Standing on the Verge of Getting It On. Interestingly enough, Funkadelic mastermind George Clinton sent out a tweet suggesting he wants no part of legal action against Thicke and Williams, and seems to be at odds with Bridgeport, naming the company's head in his tweet. "No sample of #Funkadelic's 'Sexy Ways' in @robinthicke's 'Blurred Lines' - yet Armen Boladian thinks so? We support @robinthicke @Pharrell!"
The suit further maintains, "But there are no similarities between plaintiffs' composition and those the claimants allege they own, other than commonplace musical elements. Plaintiffs created a hit and did it without copying anyone else's composition."
Anyone with knowledge of '70s soul can hear a definite influence in "Blurred Lines," but the suit says that "being reminiscent of a 'sound' is not copyright infringement. The intent in producing 'Blurred Lines' was to evoke an era."
In filing the suit, Thicke and company are not only hoping to receive a ruling that their song doesn't infringe on the copyright of the other two tunes, but they also want to court to rule 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."