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Marvin Gaye's family sues Robin Thicke for copyright infringement

Marvin Gaye's family has sued Robin Thicke over copyright infringement because they allege the singer has borrowed the deceased artist's work a little too closely. According to the lawsuit, Thicke's hit song "Blurred Lines" plagiarizes Gaye's 1977 chart-topping hit "Got to Give it Up." The October 2013 lawsuit also alleges that Thicke's 2011 celebrated song "Love After War" was too similar to Gaye's 1976 release "After the Dance." Ohio residents interested in the marriage of pop culture and business litigation could find this lawsuit interesting.

According to the family's attorney, they investigated the issue thoroughly and now look forward to presenting the material in question to the jury. The family is asking for a court ruling banning Thicke and his collaborators from taking Gaye's work and making it their own. They also claim that Thicke has a fixation on the late artist, and they are requesting unspecified damages for copyright infringement. Gaye's family is also suing EMI, to whom they assigned copyright administration duties for the late artist's music. They claim EMI has a conflict of interest, because it is a co-publisher for one of Thicke's collaborators.

Thicke and his co-writers filed a preemptive lawsuit in August 2013 because Gaye's family had notified them and told them to expect legal action if they refused to pay a settlement. Thicke stated that Gaye's family had no right to claim ownership of a sound that defined an era and encompassed an entire genre. He admitted to being inspired by Marvin Gaye, but he also argued that the base lines, lyrics, melody and other elements of the songs were original.

Issues concerning intellectual property and breach of contract frequently occur within the entertainment industry. Attorneys could be of service, as they have been in this case, when it comes to litigating contentious intellectual property disputes.

Source: USA Today, "Lawsuit: Thicke blurred lines between admiration, theft", Nate Rau, October 30, 2013

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