Marvin Gaye’s Family Countersues Robin Thicke Over ‘Blurred Lines’

Laura Ferreiro
Stop The Presses!

By Laura Ferreiro

Talk about "Blurred Lines!" It all started when Robin Thicke filed a lawsuit against Marvin Gaye's family in August in an effort to protect his mega-hit, "Blurred Lines," from copyright infringement claims. Thicke, along with Pharrell Williams and Clifford Harris, Jr. – who have writing credits on the hit tune – took this action to shield the song from claims that they stole from one of Gaye's famous hit songs. They alleged that "being reminiscent of a sound is not copyright infringement."

Gaye's family apparently didn't like what they heard, and filed a counterclaim in the Central District Court of California on Wednesday, responding to Thicke's lawsuit. They allege in their counterclaim that "Blurred Lines" blatantly rips off Gaye's 1976 hit "Got to Give It Up," and claim that Thicke was involved in "duplicitous actions" for publicly admitting "Got to Give It Up" was used in creating "Blurred Lines."

The family states in the legal papers that Thicke did so "in order to take advantage of the legend and utmost credibility of Marvin Gaye, and to drive sales." The family also mentions that they are firing back because Thicke and his associates filed a lawsuit against Gaye's children when they "rightfully raised concerns about his unlawful copyrighting."

The Gaye family takes things a step further in their counterclaim, alleging that "Blurred Lines" is not the only Thicke tune that cribs from the legendary Motown singer. They cite a quote from the All Music Guide that says Thicke has a "Marvin Gaye fixation" as well as citing many other comparisons journalists have drawn between the two artists. They list many instances where they believe Thicke copied Gaye, "including the similar bridge and identical lyrics from Marvin Gaye's 'I Want You' in Thicke's similarly-themed work, 'Make U Love Me.'"

What's more, the Gaye family has set their sights on EMI, the Sony/ATV-owned song publisher that has a relationship with both sides. The Gayes claim that EMI failed to protect their interests and has breached their contract and fiduciary duties by attempting to interfere with the Gaye family's pursuit of these claims.

The Gaye family is seeking damages including profits from the song, which could potentially add up to millions of dollars since the song was a Number One hit for several weeks. Thicke has not responded to the counterclaim as of press time.