The Court Awards Marvin Gaye’s Family $7.4 Million
I have been in radio for a long time. I have had to explain so many times why radio stations won’t allow a business to use copyrighted songs in their commercials. To use copyrighted material without proper consent is copyright infringement.
Singers and especially hip-hop artist have been stealing and borrowing forever. In the world of music every artist is inspired by another artist. Every artist has an idol.
Michael Jackson was inspired by Jackie Wilson and James Brown. Where do you think Michael got the idea for his infamous spin, it was Jackie Wilson and James Brown. Calvin Richardsons inspiration was Bobby Womack he did a tribute album to Bobby Womack.
In the case of Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams, “Blurred Lines” they just erased the myth that if you change it a little bit it’s yours and it isn’t copyright infringement.
A California grand jury ruled that one of the most successful songs in history was improperly drawn from one of Marvin Gaye’s most successful songs. Marvin Gaye’s 1977 hit “Got to Give It Up.”
A jury comprised of five woman and three men ordered Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams to pay $4 million in copyright damages plus profits attributable to infringement to $1.8 million and Williams $1.6 million. Williams and Thicke escaped statutory damage as the infringement was found not to be willful.
Copyright lawsuits are commonplace in the music industry most never make it to court. They usually settle before they get to trial. The Marvin Gaye family was determined to take this one all the and they won. Read more here.