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Marvin Gaye’s eldest son launches new ‘Blurred Lines’ litigation

By | Published on Thursday 28 November 2013

Robin Thicke

Another twist in the Gaye Family v Thicke dispute, you say? Well, alright then. Marvin Gaye’s eldest son, Marvin Gaye III, has launched a lawsuit against Robin Thicke, similar to but separate from the one launched by his siblings Frankie Christian and Nona.

As previously reported, following accusations that Thicke’s controversial summer hit ‘Blurred Lines’ borrowed from Gaye’s ‘Got To Give It Up’ and Funkadelic’s ‘Sexy Ways’, Thicke and his producer Pharrell Williams launched a pre-emptive legal attack on the Gaye estate and Funkadelic label Bridgeport Music seeking court assurance that there had been no copying going on when they wrote and recorded their song.

Frankie Christian and Nona Gaye then launched a countersuit saying that there were elements of their father’s music in not only ‘Blurred Lines’ but also another Thicke track, ‘Love After War’, which they claim takes elements of Gaye’s ‘After The Dance’.

With all that moving through the courts, Marvin Gaye III has now launched his own suit, in which he notes similarities between not two but four Thicke songs and works by his father. However, like his siblings, he is only actually claiming damages on ‘Blurred Lines’ and ‘Love After War’.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Gaye III’s new lawsuit says: “Thicke’s ‘Blurred Lines’ (copied from Marvin Gaye’s ‘Got To Give It Up’), Thicke’s ‘Love After War’ (copied from Gaye’s ‘After The Dance’), Thicke’s ‘Make U Love Me’ (copied from Gaye’s ‘I Want You’), and Thicke’s ‘Million Dollar Baby’ (copied from Gaye’s ‘Trouble Man’) all serve as examples of songs so similar to Gaye’s songs as to leave no doubt but that they were each wholly dependent for their very creations upon Thicke’s brazen copying”.

Thicke would presumably not deny any similarity between his 2009 track ‘Million Dollar Baby’ and ‘Trouble Man’, given that in the credits of the album his song is taken from, ‘Sex Therapy: The Experience’, it is stated that the work “contains interpolations from the composition ‘Trouble Man’ written by M Gaye” (and is presumably paying royalties for it). Still, it does demonstrate that Thicke isn’t adverse to borrowing from Gaye’s music – though Thicke might also say that it proves he’d hold his hands up and admit it if he did it again.

Why exactly Margin Gaye III has chosen to sue separately from his siblings is unclear. The only major difference between their suits is that this new one does not also hold EMI Music Publishing responsible for not stopping this issue from arising – the company’s EMI April subsidiary (now owned by Sony/ATV) representing both Pharrell’s publishing rights in ‘Blurred Lines’ and the Gaye estate’s in ‘Got To Give It Up’.

It seems unlikely that this distinction is the reason for the split though, and there is now speculation of a Gaye family rift that could cause problems when it comes to negotiating settlements. All of which probably means this will drag on for months, perhaps years to come. So that’s fun.