Blue Train

Marvin Gaye vs. Robin Thicke

31 posts in this topic

I realize most if not all of you don't know Robin Thicke.

Thicke has made a career out of straight out robbing...I mean "borrowing" Gaye....but now straight out of Chutzpah....he's suing Gaye's estate.

Latest "borrowing" is,,,,this really isn't the later. Later is the rated version of the video which Justin Timberlake "borrowed" the half-nude/nude females concept of Thicke's unrated version for Timberlake's Tunnel Vision video.

George Clinton claims that there was no "borrowing" from Sexy Ways. As in, he settled. :rofl:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wRcVQDELAd4


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yyDUC1LUXSU


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JxKOQ3SfGhg


Before that.....this didn't become the later.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VLnvbHkeeTM


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JwFtfnUGJfg


Oh yeah, from no the "borrowing" involved from Gaye continues.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Usl-h5f-8W0


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4FdQLUUx5I8

Edited by Blue Train

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I'm not a fan of Robin Thicke but I think contemporary musicians should be pulling for him and not the Gaye estate. The second case that Blue Train cites, Thicke cleared the sample of Trouble Man.

As for Blurred Lines, there is no question it is inspired by Gaye's work, but most people do not agree that it actually contains any direct musical elements. So any song that sort of sounds or is reminiscent of another song is off-limits? If so, pop music needs to pack it in. You may not agree with Thicke, but his lawyers' spin is that "Gaye defendants are claiming ownership of an entire genre, as opposed to a specific work." I find that troubling, man, to say the least.

Here's a Forbes article on the subject: http://www.forbes.com/sites/oliverherzfeld/2013/08/20/the-blurred-lines-of-copyright-law-robin-thicke-v-marvin-gayes-estate/

Edited by ejp626

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I agree with ejp626. I had not heard "Blurred Lines" before clicking on the links, but having listened to the three songs in question, I don't hear direct, note-for-note copies from either song, although the stylistic borrowing is obvious. But what's wrong with that? If Michael Jackson or Stevie Wonder had started suing everyone who imitated their signature vocalisms, that would have shut down a huge amount of pop since the 80's.

And Christ, think of jazz. "Charlie Parker Estate Sues Sonny Stitt"... "Stan Getz Estate Sues Harry Allen"... "Dizzy Gillespie Estate sues Jon Fadden"... "John Coltrane Estate Sues Five Dozen Tenor Saxophonists"... "Herbie Hancock Sues Five Dozen Pianists"... "Jaco Pastorius Estate Sues Five Dozen Electric Bassists"...

"Estates of Ten Blues Guitarists Sue Eric Clapton"...

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"If Bird was a gunslinger, there'd be a lot of dead copycats." Good metaphor; bad legal theory.

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So any song that sort of sounds or is reminiscent of another song is off-limits? If so, pop music needs to pack it in.

All music would have to pack it in, especially jazz and blues.

I side with Thicke on this one. You cannot claim ownership of a groove. Unless he directly sampled Got To Give It Up (which he did not), he's in the clear. You can only copyright melodies and lyrics. You cannot copyright rhythms, chord changes (Blurred Lines uses different chords anyway), or motifs.

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Robin Thicke may be in the legal right, but there's still something distinctly odious about him. (Further support for the notion that justice needs to be blind.)

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I love good Ear Candy (which Thicke provides) & Pop Music has the element of Outright Theft built into it (and Thicke also provides this). But this Thicke guy has been bugging me for a while now...just a little too blatant and just a little too shameless and not nowhere near close enough to being Thug enough to say it be like that.

But that's my personal reaction. My business reaction (for this is Pop Music, after all) is more simple - Everybody should just make their money and shut up about who "owes" who.

And the Gaye estate should be angling to get Thicke to cover a Marvin tune on some tribute album or a charity album where the performers donate their fees & royalties (but not the writers/publishers). Lots of ways to make that motherfucker pay besides filing a losing lawsuit. Laws don't really give a shit about what is being sued over by them. So make him pay some other way. Some "nice" kind of a way where he can look "good" and they still get paid. Because that's what you want in Pop Music - to look good and to get paid, even if it's opposing entities getting theirs each.

OTOH - Daryl Hall gave Marvin co-composer credits for this one, which is, at the very least, appropriate (and given the outright melodic/lyrical usage, legally necessary,I'm sure). Whether it was of free will or not, though I don't know. I think Daryl Hall has respect, whereas Robin Thicke probably just has "love". Make mine respect, please.

The one I dare somebody to cover is "It's Madness". Go ahead Pretty Boy. Do it.

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I love good Ear Candy (which Thicke provides) & Pop Music has the element of Outright Theft built into it (and Thicke also provides this). But this Thicke guy has been bugging me for a while now...just a little too blatant and just a little too shameless and not nowhere near close enough to being Thug enough to say it be like that.

Thanks to both of you for understanding what I meant. Never said he wasn't in the legal right. Just his entire career is based on straight out "borrowing" while acting like he's not. It's like Vanilla Ice and Under Pressure.

I didn't think I had to point out on a Jazz board how much borrowing went on in Jazz, Blues, Pop, Rock, ect, or the Arts in general.

Robin Thicke may be in the legal right, but there's still something distinctly odious about him. (Further support for the notion that justice needs to be blind.)

Edited by Blue Train

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I've heard (through the grapevine) that Thicke offered a settlement to the Gaye estate in the six figures. Now some folks would say that just means he thinks he is in the wrong and others will just see that as confirmation that he really does have respect for Gaye. All I know is that (if true) the Gaye estate should absolutely have settled rather than taking their chances on a really dodgy suit.

I haven't had any respect or interest in pop music in a long time, so it is all mangy dogs fighting over a picked-over carcass, as far as I am concerned. (That is I don't think of Thicke in a completely different category of insipid, uninspired musician from Lady Gaga or Katie Perry or One Direction or whoever just won American Idol or X-Factor or The Voice.) It's just sad what kids today will get on the radio relative to 50, 40, 30 or even 20 years ago...

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This is indeed an interesting and complicated legal question. Some of those Thicke tracks above are definitely blatant rip-offs of Gaye, not just a borrowing of grooves, but use of the same melodies, harmonies, intros, and even vocal inflections. They just changed the words and dumbed them down a bit. The rip-off was deliberate and conscious.

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The funny thing is Thicke has been "borrowing" Timberlake's act (which is Michael Jackson's (who borrowed from James Brown and Jackie Wilson and admitted it) and he at least admitted it...not putting Timberlake in Jackson's category....I don't even like Timberlake outside of his SNL stints, just making a point.) and Timberlake "borrowed" from Thicke's uncensored video of Blurred Lines for Tunnel Vision and that put Thicke finally on the map so to speak. Not posting the videos since they're so easy to to find.

Edited by Blue Train

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Regardless of one's convictions about whether or not this is stealing, I think that because of the similarity there are tons of young people who would never have gone out of their way to listen to Marvin Gaye who are going to discover his music this way and imo, this is a very good thing.

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I'm willing to side with the "Thicke is odious" camp here. And now I'll forget him as quickly as I learned about him!

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Well, the jury has spoken and found Thicke and Pharrell Williams guilty of plagiarism: http://www.thestar.com/entertainment/music/2015/03/10/pharrell-robin-thicke-owe-marvin-gaye-heirs-73-million-for-blurred-lines.html

I find this pretty disappointing and one more indication that jury trials are an increasingly lousy way of settling lawsuits or anything frankly.

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Frankly, I never really gave a shit or cared for the song.

In an October radio show interview, Smokey Robinson said “Part of the melody is in there! It was absolutely a rip off!”. Furthermore, he likes Robin Thicke and told him the same thing.

It's hard for me to doubt Smokey.

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I have often read about the Blurred Lines video and a woman in it, but I have never heard the song or seen the video until just now.

Although there is the obvious homage in the beat, I didn't hear anything in the melody to remind me of the Gaye song.

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How could you read about the video, yet not watch it? I will blame it on poor writing.

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I found this at Yahoo:

"I've never seen a decision that is this poor -- the melody wasn't taken, there were no lyrics taken, there was no chord progressions taken," he said. "If this is the standard, it's below floor level it's so low."

That quote is from a songwriter, so he has a vested interest. But from what I heard from the video, I agree 100%.

http://news.yahoo.com/blurred-lines-verdict-strikes-fear-songwriters-233941179.html

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I don't know, not in the business, not a musician, but a hardcore music junkie for 40 years. When I heard the tune, i thought it was a rip-off of "Got to give it up". And I get all the borrowing stuff. But from my lay perspective, this was more than that, legally or not.

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Considering that the only Thicke I'm familiar with is Alan and my only exposure to his "version" was hearing it on before games at the warmup before soccer games, I have little reasons to dislike the tune, actually I'll be in the minority but I still actually enjoy it (I heard the tune but I never watched the video ) , then again to paraphrase JSngry I don't mind ear candy.

Regarding the problem itself, well I'm on the fence, yes I see what they (Gaye's estate) mean but considering how common it has been done before I have a hard time understanding why this one is worse than others to the point of winning a trial (Maybe others haven't tried ?) . Philosophical question to me becomes what's the difference between an hommage and a rip off .

Edited by Van Basten II

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People Of Dignity would have never let this have gone to trial. There'd have been a deal cut beforehand and the Official Word would have been that out of respect for the genius and eternal inspiration of the Great Marvin Gaye, a mutually beneficial agreement has been reached, terms not disclosed. Lump sum, points on all future sales/uses, everything on paper but not in the papers.

But no, these young motherfuckers want to go to court out of principle or some shit. They don't realize how dangerous that can be.

Marvin did.

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People Of Dignity would have never let this have gone to trial. There'd have been a deal cut beforehand and the Official Word would have been that out of respect for the genius and eternal inspiration of the Great Marvin Gaye, a mutually beneficial agreement has been reached, terms not disclosed. Lump sum, points on all future sales/uses, everything on paper but not in the papers.

But no, these young motherfuckers want to go to court out of principle or some shit. They don't realize how dangerous that can be.

Marvin did.

Yes sir. They filed a law suit themselves and talked a lot of shit during and now, after the process.

I get the shit talk about Gaye's greedy kids and all that but the lesson learned here is if you think people are looking for a payday, sometimes the cheaper way is to give it to them. You're right it could have been simply...., out of respect for Marvin, we're going to end this thing.

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From the Guardian:

'Jurors repeatedly heard the upbeat song Blurred Lines and saw snippets of its music video, but Gaye’s music was represented during the trial in a less polished form. Jurors did not hear Got to Give It Up as Gaye recorded it, but rather a version created based solely on sheet music submitted to gain copyright protection.'

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I found this at Yahoo:

"I've never seen a decision that is this poor -- the melody wasn't taken, there were no lyrics taken, there was no chord progressions taken," he said. "If this is the standard, it's below floor level it's so low."

That quote is from a songwriter, so he has a vested interest. But from what I heard from the video, I agree 100%.

Chords progressions are not copyrighted. A melody ís and a rhythm phrase can be, I think.

Edited by page

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People Of Dignity would have never let this have gone to trial. There'd have been a deal cut beforehand and the Official Word would have been that out of respect for the genius and eternal inspiration of the Great Marvin Gaye, a mutually beneficial agreement has been reached, terms not disclosed. Lump sum, points on all future sales/uses, everything on paper but not in the papers.

But no, these young motherfuckers want to go to court out of principle or some shit. They don't realize how dangerous that can be.

Marvin did.

Yes sir. They filed a law suit themselves and talked a lot of shit during and now, after the process.

I get the shit talk about Gaye's greedy kids and all that but the lesson learned here is if you think people are looking for a payday, sometimes the cheaper way is to give it to them. You're right it could have been simply...., out of respect for Marvin, we're going to end this thing.

See, I don't think these boys knew just what kind of old-school fighters they were up against, that they didn't know who Marvin Gaye III really was (and what shape he's in now), or Janis Hunter, how all THAT went town (beginning with her being Slim Gaillard's daughter), or Nona Gaye, where she was when Marvin/Janis were breaking bad/up, you're talking about people who came up knowing getting ripped off and held out on and not getting a helping hand from any side but the back. Not JUST taht, but enough to have some old school MAKE THEM PAY running hard in their veins. Shit, they see this cuteass whiteboy and this Smokey The Bear hat-wearing Industry Darling doing Marvin's shit and getting paid large for it, you KNOW there's a fight.

And these dumbass kids, hell, all they did, at least all they thought they were doing, was having fun and making money, because that's what their type of people do, right, music's for everybody, right, it's a gift, what do you mean I gotta pay taxes on this shit, am I not allowed to be inspired to share the gift? Etc.

These kids, they just didn't get it, they thought they were right (and legally, I'm inclined to agree that they were). But shit, you got a crackhead half-Gordy (and not through Anna), an aging hippie woman who took who know how much trading and abuse and drugs and whatnot from her ex-husband (who btw, got pretty much drained dry by HIS ex-wife, a Gordy, and his ex-father-in-law, THE Gordy, AND by his own demons), and Nona, who seems to be ok enough publicly, but jesus, to see what she did when she did, how is there not some damage there?), you think these people gonna be logical about this shit? Hell no - they've been buked and they been scorned, SOMEBODY GONNA PAY, DAMMIT.

People done lost the awareness of how, uh...REAL the oldschool R&B life was, even/especially the "clean" shit of Motown. These boys and girls today, they think they're protected from all that shit, they don't see it coming, hell, I do not know that they would think that anybody that old could be that rough about it. They just worry about gangstas and shit, but today's gangstas, when they in fact are that, you don't need to worry about them, they don't hide it. These old-school survivors always got some dirt in reserve for your ass, believe that.

Next time this shit comes around, whoever the young boys and girls getting papers on 'em are need to hire some aging ass Motown lawyer or somebody who knows what game is being played and who knows how to play it. Keep this nonsense out of the trial and give some people some money just to show there's no hard feelings, we know that respect has a price, here's your money, now fuck off before we decide to play hardball back on your ripped-off asses.

See y'all on Facebook or wherever it is that the folks go to be where life has no body or souls, just "likes".

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