Judge: Trial is needed to determine claim that hit 'Blurred Lines' copies Marvin Gaye's music

LOS ANGELES, Calif. – A jury should decide a claim by the children of Marvin Gaye that the 2012 hit song “Blurred Lines” improperly copied elements of their father’s music, a federal judge ruled Thursday.

U.S. District Judge John A. Kronstadt made the ruling after reviewing conflicting analyses by experts hired by Robin Thicke and Pharrell, and by Gaye’s children to evaluate “Blurred Lines” and Gaye’s song “Got to Give it Up.”

The judge determined there is a genuine dispute about whether several musical elements, including signature phrases, hooks, bass lines, keyboard chords and vocal melodies, are similar.

The court fight has lasted more than a year. A trial in scheduled for Feb. 10 in Los Angeles.

The singers had sought a ruling Thursday by the judge that “Blurred Lines” did not infringe on copyrights to the Gaye song.

Their attorney, Howard King, wrote in an email that the ruling was not a surprise, and he was confident the entertainers would win at trial.

In his ruling, Kronstadt limited the analysis to be made by a jury to how the compositions appear on sheet music, not how “Blurred Lines” and “Got to Give it Up” sound to listeners.

“Since the compositions at issue are completely different, we remain confident of prevailing at trial,” King wrote.

A representative for Gaye’s children, Nona, Frankie and Marvin Gaye III, did not have an immediate comment on the ruling.

The Gaye family also claims that his “After the Dance” was improperly used for Thicke’s No. 1 R&B hit, “Love After War.” Kronstadt ruled a trial would be needed to decide that issue as well.


Anthony McCartney can be reached at