‘Blurred Lines’ copyright ruling causes stir on Music Row

Blurred Lines, Robin Thicke, Pharrell
Courtesy: RobinThickeVEVO/YouTube

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The blurred lines seem even fuzzier to some following a court ruling that found Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams guilty of ripping off Marvin Gaye’s song “Got to Give It Up.”

The Tuesday ruling is causing a stir on Music Row.

“Both songs have elements of other songs in them, but this is one just terrible decision,” Dr. E. Michael Harrington told News 2.

Dr. Harrington, chair of the music business program at the The School of Audio Engineering Institute (SAE) and expert witness in copyright infringement, said he finds the ruling absurd.

Dr. E. Michael Harrington, The School of Audio Engineering Institute (SAE)
Dr. E. Michael Harrington

“I think it was the worst possible decision. I think it’s really a terrible precedent. There’s no melody, no chord progression, no rhythm, no lyrics,” he explained.

On the other side is Nashville attorney Richard Busch.

“This is a copyright infringement case. There have been copyright cases before and there will be copyright infringement in the future,” Busch told News 2.

Busch represented the children of Gaye in the controversial case that awarded them $7.4 million.

In a phone interview, Busch said Harrington must be uninformed about the case and explains his team spent two weeks proving Gaye’s song was copied in the 2013 hit “Blurred Lines.”

“This is copying of a melody; this is the copying of vocal melody; this is copying of harmony; this is copying of bass line; this is copying of keyboard; this is copying of structure; and that’s what the jury found,” Busch told a group of press following the hearing.

The jury’s ruling has Dr. Harrington concerned more musicians may follow suit.

“If this is infringement, there are hundreds, maybe thousands, that are better. If that’s where we are at now, I think it’s a matter of time before the lawsuits start happening,” Harrington expressed, adding he hopes the case is appealed.

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