Was the 'Blurred Lines' verdict unfair?
via AP

Was the 'Blurred Lines' verdict unfair?

#Justice4MarvinGaye
#Justice4BlurredLines
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Marvin Gaye's family won a $5.3 million lawsuit against Pharrell Williams, T.I. and Robin Thicke due to similarities of "Blurred Lines" to Gaye's "Got To Give It Up." Thicke and Williams appealed, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld the song's copyright infringement verdict. Back in 2016, more than 200 musicians supported the appeal. Now, even the judges have differing opinions on if artists have ownership over musical styles. Was the verdict fair? 

THE VOTES ARE IN!
#Justice4MarvinGaye
61.6%
#Justice4BlurredLines
38.4%

While some of Gaye's fans have thought for years that "Blurred Lines" is a knock-off, others think the ruling sets an unfair precedent moving forward for music copyright cases. Historically, music has had similar rhythms and riffs, but critics say "Blurred Lines" didn't literally copy "Got to Give It Up."

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the verdict. According to ForbesZachary Elsea, even judges disagree on the decision: 

The majority opinion, written by Judge Milan D. Smith Jr., emphasized that the case was “decided ... on narrow grounds” related to the procedural peculiarities of the case. The majority stated that the Court of Appeals was not permitted to closely scrutinize whether “Blurred Lines” actually infringed on “Got To Give It Up," because Williams and Thicke failed to move for judgment as a matter of law at trial before the jury returned its verdict. According to the opinion, this meant that the panel was all but obligated to uphold the verdict. Judge Smith concluded, “We cannot say that there was an absolute absence of evidence supporting the jury’s verdict."
Judge Jacqueline H. Nguyen sharply disagreed, arguing that “the majority allow the Gayes to accomplish what no one has before: copyright a musical style.” According to Judge Nguyen, Pharrell and Thicke are entitled to judgment of non-infringement as a matter of copyright law. Judge Nguyen criticized the majority for not engaging with that question, and stated that she would have concluded that the allegedly infringed elements were not copyrightable and that there was no substantial similarity between the songs.

Listen to "Got to Give It Up" and then listen to 'Blurred Lines.' Do you hear the similarities?

"Blurred Lines" has different lyrics and a different song structure. Supporters say no artist has ownership over a musical style. Therefore, the verdict is ridiculous. 

The songwriters shouldn't have to pay Gaye's family for copyright infringement. Watch the controversial music video to "Blurred Lines" and tell us what you think.

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