The family of late singer Marvin Gaye has upped the stakes against Robin Thicke in a new lawsuit against controversial Canadian pop act, alleging that the lewd summer hit Blurred Lines is not the only song Thicke whose beat was borrowed from Gaye’s classics.
The Hollywood Reporter published an exclusive look at the Gaye family’s complaint, which features evidence including interviews with Thicke himself before the lawsuit began and a musicologist’s expert opinion that the songs in question are, indeed, similar enough to merit the courtroom battle. The Billboard #1 Blurred Lines, the family alleges, borrows its hook from Gaye’s Got to Give It Up. Amazingly, Thicke initially made the claim himself in GQ, before denying any influence from the R&B legend after litigation began. The Gayes also allege that Thicke’s Love After War bears an uncanny resemblance to Marvin Gaye’s After the Dance.
This latest action also merits note because it ropes in the record label EMI April, which has its hand both in Gaye’s and Thicke’s music. As such, the family argues there is a conflict of interest that makes it beneficial for the label to have not demanded of Thicke and his producers the necessary appropriation license for using the work–essentially, the record label makes twice the amount of money on the same song. Given the astronomical success of Thicke’s latest album, the family demands that EMI lose both profits from Blurred Lines and the rights to Gaye’s song catalogue. The full claim can be read here.
The current litigation counterintuitively began at Thicke’s hands, not the family’s, as he headed to court to preemptively demand declaratory relief that a court declare Blurred Lines a legally original work. The suit was targeted at the Gaye family, who responded by alleging copyright infringement on Got to Give It Up. This new document greatly expands the scope of that litigation, however.
Though several albums into his career, Thicke–son of former sitcom star Alan Thicke–made his biggest splash outside of his native Canada this summer, with the Pharrell Williams co-performed Blurred Lines. The song was already a summer #1 as autumn ended and Thicke took to the stage with the other star of his Give It 2 U duet, Miley Cyrus, at the MTV Video Music Awards. Aside from the infamous performance, Thicke garnered a number of headlines for other problematic behavior that night, including this infamous butt-grab.
Thicke’s attorney, responding to The Hollywood Reporter, called the latest revelations a “press-release-disguised-as-a-complaint” and cited their party’s own musicologists in denying the complaint.