200 Artists Support Robin Thicke + Pharrell’s ‘Blurred Lines’ Appeal in Legal Brief
It's been over a year since Robin Thicke, Pharrell Williams and T.I. announced their March 2015 plans to appeal a ruling ordering the "Blurred Lines" artists to pay Marvin Gaye's family for similarities to Gaye's "Got to Give It Up." Now, as they continue that legal battle, over 200 music artists in genres ranging from hip-hop to hair metal have signed a brief in support of Thicke and Williams' cause.
In a document obtained by The Hollywood Reporter's Eriq Gardner, titled "Brief of Amici Curiae 212 Songwriters, Composers, Musicians and Producers in Support of Appellant," hundreds of recording artists stood up for an artist's right to create works "inspired by" previous songs. As the brief clarifies,
The verdict in this case threatens to punish songwriters for creating new music that is inspired by prior works. All music shares inspiration from prior musical works, especially within a particular musical genre. By eliminating any meaningful standard for drawing the line between permissible inspiration and unlawful copying, the judgment is certain to stifle creativity and impede the creative process.
Jennifer Hudson, singer-songwriter Bonnie McKee, Fall Out Boy's Patrick Stump, Jason Mraz and songwriter and producer Savan Kotechka join a swath of artists that includes members of Train, Three 6 Mafia, Earth, Wind & Fire and Hall & Oates. Take a look at the full list of artists supporting Thicke and Williams in the legal brief below.
In 2015, a judge ordered the "Blurred Lines" songwriters to pay $7.4 million to Marvin Gaye's family for the No. 1 hit's similarities to "Got to Give It Up" (Rolling Stone reports the damages were then cut to $5.3 million, but with the stipulation that Gaye's family receive 50% percent of the song's future royalties).
This renewed interest in the "Blurred Lines" case comes at a time when pop stars including Demi Lovato and Ed Sheeran have suits pending from other artists who claim the higher-profile musicians borrowed from their work. In 2016 Sheeran has been sued for both "Photograph" and "Thinking Out Loud," which allegedly incorporates elements of another Marvin Gaye song, "Let's Get It On." And at the beginning of 2015, Tom Petty was awarded a songwriting credit for Sam Smith's "Stay With Me" due to melodic similarities to Petty's "I Won't Back Down."
Meanwhile, other artists take preemptive measures to sidestep these accusations completely: Beyonce's Lemonade liner notes credited every artist whose work was interpolated in the album's songs, including Soulja Boy for a line in "Hold Up" and OutKast for the horns on "All Night."
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