The ‘Blurred Lines’ of Copyright Laws

In 2015, musicians, Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams were challenged by the family of Motown legend, Marvin Gaye, in relation to a copyright infringement in their 2013 hit, “Blurred Lines”. The Gaye family claimed that the pair had stolen the tune form Marvin Gaye’s 1977 track “Got to give it up”.

However, following an appeal from the duo, the judge cut their copyright infringement verdict by more than $2 million. This occurred on the basis that  “a ‘groove’ or ‘feeling’ cannot be copyrighted”, as, was argued by Thicke and Williams. This case has transfixed the music world because it raises questions as to when a song can be considered plagiarized and when it merely serves as inspiration.

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Original Meme

The dispute brings about the notion of intellectual property rights. Before copyright anyone could freely copy, modify, or sell content. Before copyright, the notion of property related only to owning land with the thought of owning ideas considered absurd. Now days this is almost impossible, with industries and corporations seeking control over content, ideas and all possible uses of information, rendering the thought of a copyright free world, a thing of the past.

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9 thoughts on “The ‘Blurred Lines’ of Copyright Laws

  1. Hi Shaneese! Clever title lmao punny haha. A well structured post opening with a contextualised example and leading into a meme to break up the text was a nice touch, however a hyper link to the actual track would have been effective.

    As someone who makes music the post is interesting as I also find myself drawing inspiration from a lot of artists and in some circumstances sampling certain video’s and sound clips, leading me to think about the consequences of breaching copyright even at a minor level.

    I find the vastness of control some of these content promulgators have is quite sad, it makes me wonder how far creativity could be taken if these strict intellectual property laws didn’t exist. I mean I would love to have a track featuring Tupac Shakur, but I guess that’s not going to happen! hahahah

    Here is a link if you don’t know who I’m talking about lmao https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tupac_Shakur Peace 🙂

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  2. Hey Shanesse,
    I think you got a really good hold on this week topic and I found the example you used (Blurred Lines) really interesting as I had no idea that was a thing, I just enjoyed the song! The only critique I could make it that maybe you could explain the copyright laws etc at the start of the blog?
    Overall I enjoyed this post and gained knowledge from it, keep it up!
    Fi 🙂

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  3. Hey,
    It’s so crazy that a ‘groove’ or ‘feeling’ could be considered copyright right!!! ahahaha
    All I can say is I wish I had Marvin Gaye’s family if I was a celebrity.

    The fact that Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams were even considered to have copyrighted, is out of this world. I totally agree with your statement about inspiration as I believe that if every art form was copyrighted creators would be unable to obtain any source of inspiration to form new innovations.
    Your blog post is quite easy to understand and is an easy read. The only thing I would add is some sort of links to different sources to justify your points and assist the readers to understand the ideas you are emphasising. You could even link both of the songs you have mentioned from YouTube!!! Just an idea 🙂

    Otherwise a source you could add is http://www.smartcopying.edu.au/copyright-guidelines/copyright—a-general-overview/1-1-what-is-copyright- , this webpage provides a simple definition and understanding of the basis of Copyright which you could incorporate in the beginning of your blog.
    Great work, I look forward to reading your future weekly blog posts.
    April 🙂

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  4. You showed clear knowledge on the topic of intellectual property and copyright laws in the last paragraph also the blurred lines example you used was a great way to display your knowledge on the topic!

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