Robin Thicke, Estate of Marvin Gaye Tussle Over ‘Blurred Lines’

Robin Thicke’s tremendous hit “Blurred Lines” has prompted all kinds of controversy, from the scandalously provocative music video to the allegation that its racy lyrics promote sexual objectification of women.

Now, there’s more controversy, this time in the legal arena: Thicke and his “Blurred Lines” collaborators T.I. and Pharrell have been sued by the estate of Marvin Gaye. The administrators of Gaye’s estate think there is too much of a similarity between “Blurred Lines” and Gaye’s 1970 song “Got To Give It Up” and that Thicke should have paid for his use of Gaye’s song.

Whether the songs are or are not too similar (compare them for yourself and see what you think) is not what we wanted to write about.

Rather, we wanted to call attention to the fact that it is Marvin Gaye’s estate that is taking legal action here. This is a good illustration of how estates can exercise certain legal rights on behalf of deceased people. If it turns out that a court agrees with Gaye’s estate and finds that Thicke and Co. should have paid it a licensing fee, that fee will likely be substantial. Also, one cannot put a dollar amount on artistic integrity and independence, qualities that surely include determining who uses your work and how.

If you are interested in making estate planning arrangements, you might want to look for a Houston- or Dallas-area law firm that specializes in this field. You could contact us as part of your search.