Summertime music hits are as American as apple pie. From the likes of Sam Cooke and Marvin Gaye, to Madonna and Bruce Springsteen, catchy jingles with carefree lyrics have long captivated us all from May to September.
But this year, America’s “song of the summer” has found itself playing out on a different kind of record… a court record. “Blurred Lines” by musician Robin Thicke sounds quite a bit like Marvin Gaye’s classic love song “Got to Give it Up" and the Parliament Funkadelic’s “Sexy Ways.”
(Note to readers: the “Blurred Lines” lyrics and music video have received intense criticism for being demeaning to women and for advancing poor morals. The linked version above is to the rated version, not the unrated version, and even the rated version contains lyrics and images that offend the sentiments of the family-oriented practitioners here at the Poppe Law Firm.)
Normally, when someone infringes on your intellectual property, you sue them. But in today’s topsy-turvy music world, it was the alleged music thief who went to the courthouse first, as Thicke filed suit in federal court to have the judge issue a declaratory judgment ruling that Thicke’s music is original and that he cannot be sued for copyright infringement.
Marvin Gaye’s son, Marvin III, is threatening to countersue not only to defend his father’s song from being ripped off, but also out of sheer spite for being sued by Thicke in the first place. “We’re not happy with the way that he went about doing business, let alone suing us for something where he clearly got his inspiration from at the least,” Gaye said. “That’s caused my family a lot of duress.”
Not to be outdone, Thicke’s family has circled the wagons to support his artistic originality and to speak out against those who say the song defiles women. Thicke’s mother, singer Gloria Loring, argues that her son loves to be “a little bit naughty,” but that it is all in jest. Thicke’s father, actor Alan Thicke, has said he is proud of his son and that “we’re not doing the Anthony Weiner story over here.” Alan Thicke is probably best known for being America’s dad in the hit show “Growing Pains.”
Lawsuits, raunchy lyrics and images, intellectual theft, and Dr. Jason Seaver… this wild story has about everything you could want out of a drama. If you were looking for a nice mid-August scandal to end the summer, there is no need to look to Congress. All you have to do is check Youtube.
Here at the Poppe Law Firm, we love having a catchy tune to groove to on our drive to the office or to play in the background while working on your case. But, if you’re planning on writing your own summertime hit, try not to write a song where the melody has to be defended in court and the message has to be defended in public.