Marvin GayeRecently, there has been quite a bit of interest in the legal issues relating to whether or not the Song “Blurred Lines” unlawfully infringed upon Marvin Gaye’s song “Got to Give it Up”.  To some, the “ear test” has led to the affirmative conclusion that it is a “no brainer” but to others, it is not so clear.  So, let me arm you with some legal insights and background so “You Be The Judge.”

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Almost all matters of this sort involve the allegation of unauthorized copying (some call it “stealing”) of a pre-existing song by taking all or a part the lyrics, melody or both of another song. This matter is governed primarily by copyright law, among other possible claims.  To determine whether Marvin Gaye’s song was infringed upon, you would need to know what rights a “copyright” conveys to its copyright owner who may or may not have registered such work(s) (also known as intellectual property) for the benefits of the copyright owner(s).

In brief summary for this analysis, a copyright provides its owner(s) with certain “exclusive rights of copyright” for a period of time. These rights include the exclusive rights to copy, perform, and distribute or publish such rights. These rights are not limited to musical compositions but covers all types of creative ideas that can be affixed to a tangible form.


The Courts judge these cases by a circumstantial evidence test which includes the following: (i) Did Thicke (and/or others) have “access” to the song to make it possible; (2) was part of the pre-existing song’s protectable expression “copied” without permission; and (3) whether the alleged new song (“Blurred Lines”) is “substantially similar” to the song claimed to be infringed (“Got to Give it Up”).

So now that I have armed you with the legal elements, did Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” infringe upon the work of Marvin Gaye’s “Got to Give it Up”. Tell us what you think on @TheSource and Facebook. YOU BE THE JUDGE !!!