While the Gaye family haven't raised an official claim against the singer, he is looking to prevent any disputes.
Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams have made no qualms about the fact that their summer anthem Blurred Lines was heavily influenced by Marvin Gaye’s Got to Give It Up. So far, neither the Gaye family, nor Bridgeport Music Inc., have raised any official copyright claims based on the song, however Thicke, Williams and collaborator Clifford Harris Jr. (aka T.I.) have filed a preemptive complaint to protect themselves against future disputes.
In a preemptive strike, Thicke is taking the case to court himself.
According to the L.A. Times, the creative team has requested that the L.A. Court Judge verify that the song does not violate any copyright restrictions. The complaint states that representatives of the Gaye estate have threatened to sue Thicke and Williams, based on a perceived similarity between Blurred Lines and the Marvin Gaye songs Got to Give It Up and Sexy Ways. Thcke and co. have asked the court to declare that Blurred Lines does not infringe on copyrights just because of said similarity.
The Gaye family are basing the claim of the similarity between Thicke's and Gaye's songs.
“The basis of the Gaye defendants' claims is that Blurred Lines and Got To Give It Up ‘feel’ or ‘sound’ the same,” the complaint reads. “In reality, the Gaye defendants are claiming ownership of an entire genre, as opposed to a specific work, and Bridgeport is claiming the same work.”
Thicke hasn't hidden the fact that Blurred Lines was influenced by Gaye.
In fact, Thicke has admitted on multiple occasions that the song was directly inspired by Gaye’s work. In a GQ interview in May, he explained how he and Williams arrived at Blurred Lines’ distinctive feel: “Pharrell and I were in the studio and I told him that one of my favorite songs of all time was Marvin Gaye's ‘Got to Give It Up. I was like, ‘Damn, we should make something like that, something with that groove.’ Then he started playing a little something and we literally wrote the song in about a half hour and recorded it.”
Pharrell and Thicke reportedly produced the song in the space of half an hour.
And thus, Blurred Lines was born. Unfortunately for the Gaye family “feel” and genre are not protected under copyright law. Unless they manage to prove that the melody or lyrics to Blurred Lines are substantially similar to Got to Give It Up or any other Gaye song, the claim just doesn’t hold water.