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Pharrell + Thicke + Blurred Lines
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besson3c
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Mar 11, 2015, 05:06 PM
 
Robin Thicke Was High in Studio, Lied About Writing "Blurred Lines"

It really bothered me that there were so many Pharrell/Thicke fans defending their actions and claiming that the Gaye estate is just greedy on Facebook.

There is pretty clear evidence (e.g. the GQ quote) that they had heard Marvin Gaye's song. It's kind of common sense in the music industry that you call the estate to ask for permission for these sort of things, no?
     
Cap'n Tightpants
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Mar 11, 2015, 06:10 PM
 
Given the state of things in the hip hop/R&B industry, this is nothing. I despise the song, but I don't think it's close enough to warrant being found guilty of copyright infringement. "It has a somewhat similar bassline, oh no!" Feels like an old-fashioned money grab to me and hopefully it'll be overturned.
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besson3c  (op)
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Mar 11, 2015, 06:18 PM
 
Similar bass line, similar harmonic structure, similar vibe, similar groove. What is not similar?

Are you trying to be contrarian?
     
OAW
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Mar 11, 2015, 06:46 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Similar bass line, similar harmonic structure, similar vibe, similar groove. What is not similar?
The actual musical notes. Even Stevie Wonder has said it has the same "vibe" but it's not the same "song". Two songs can be sonically but still be different musically.

Stevie Wonder: Gaye family should not sue Robin Thicke over ‘Blurred Lines’ | theGrio

OAW
     
besson3c  (op)
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Mar 11, 2015, 06:57 PM
 
There isn't much of a melody, it's a jam on the groove and harmonic structure. Interesting statement from Stevie Wonder though.

It's an interesting question though: what should be copywritable? Melody? Harmonic structure? Lyrics? Groove? Vibe? Feel free to weigh in if you have an opinion, OAW, I'd like to hear what you think.
     
Cap'n Tightpants
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Mar 11, 2015, 08:35 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Similar bass line
Fairly.

similar harmonic structure,
Not really.

similar vibe,
Not really.

similar groove.
Nope.

What is not similar?
Everything else.

Are you trying to be contrarian?
Because I don't agree with you?
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besson3c  (op)
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Mar 11, 2015, 09:07 PM
 
Originally Posted by Cap'n Tightpants View Post
Not really.
Pharrell's harmonies are largely major triads, Marvin Gaye's are dominant 7th chords in a different key, with some modulation between major and minor, and some inversions in the voicings. Otherwise the sequence and structure seems about the same to me. I agree with you that it isn't identical, but it is certainly largely inspired by the song. This is worth factoring into the totality of the argument.

Not really.
How do you explain the GQ quote then?

Nope.
You are wrong. This is basically a rhythmic tune, the rhythmic lilt is basically the same.

Because I don't agree with you?
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unicast reversepath
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Mar 11, 2015, 09:53 PM
 
This sounds like a job for the law firm Beetum, Breakum, and Howe.
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besson3c  (op)
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Mar 11, 2015, 11:59 PM
 
Here is another musical analysis: Did Robin Thicke steal ‘Blurred Lines’ from Marvin Gaye? – Joe Bennett . He says no, but claims that the songs sound alike though, which brings up the question, should copyright be based on the essence of a work, or the literally mechanical underpinnings, analyzed like this blogger did? Even cover bands tweak things, put their own spin on things... How much of this should be necessary before the art is considered a new piece of work?
( Last edited by besson3c; Mar 12, 2015 at 12:12 AM. )
     
Ω
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Mar 12, 2015, 01:23 AM
 
Lucky AC/DC can't sue themselves, because all their songs sound the same....
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OAW
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Mar 12, 2015, 01:32 AM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Here is another musical analysis: Did Robin Thicke steal ‘Blurred Lines’ from Marvin Gaye? – Joe Bennett . He says no, but claims that the songs sound alike though, which brings up the question, should copyright be based on the essence of a work, or the literally mechanical underpinnings, analyzed like this blogger did? Even cover bands tweak things, put their own spin on things... How much of this should be necessary before the art is considered a new piece of work?
For something like this the musical notes must match or be obviously derivative with respect to melody, harmonic structure, verse, accompaniment, etc. The same song with a different arrangement is "derivative". This is not the case b/c the two songs have the same "vibe" but not the same "structure". Now that Sam Smith song that one all the Grammy's is definitely biting Tom Petty. It's the same structure with a different tempo!

OAW
     
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Mar 12, 2015, 06:53 AM
 
Originally Posted by Ω View Post
Lucky AC/DC can't sue themselves, because all their songs sound the same....
Ha! Same can be said about Def Leppard. I mean really, what else would a one armed bandit sound like? Hahaha.

My favorite case was with John Fogerty back in the early 90s though. Just gotta laugh at this stuff. Here is a quick rundown for those that don't remember.

The Time John Fogerty Was Sued for Ripping Off John Fogerty | Mental Floss
     
Cap'n Tightpants
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Mar 12, 2015, 09:14 AM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Pharrell's harmonies are largely major triads, Marvin Gaye's are dominant 7th chords in a different key, with some modulation between major and minor, and some inversions in the voicings. Otherwise the sequence and structure seems about the same to me. I agree with you that it isn't identical, but it is certainly largely inspired by the song. This is worth factoring into the totality of the argument.
It's a similar style, but styles often overlap. You think this sounds any more similar than Run Through the Jungle and The Old Man is Down the Road? Because they were found to not be infringing works.

How do you explain the GQ quote then?
That they have a somewhat similar style? I agree.

You are wrong. This is basically a rhythmic tune, the rhythmic lilt is basically the same.
No, I'm not.

The thing I like about the internet is that everybody is an expert, and knowledge can be treated as mere opinion. Yes, there is a subjective assessment here, but we could geek it out musically if we had to. Are you a musician?
Har har. The thing I like about the internet is there's always enough snarky bullshit to go around. Yes, I'm a musician of sorts, I've played guitar and piano for >30 years. Though now I mostly collect guitars now, rather than play them very much, because my rheumatoid arthritis takes a lot of the enjoyment out of it for me (my fingers have lost a good bit of their flexibility). But no, I don't care enough to "geek it out", I think one song inspired the other, maybe, but I don't think it's nearly blatant enough to call a rip-off. Compare Ice, Ice, Baby and Under Pressure for an example of how to rip someone off, although (shockingly) Queen and Bowie never sued Van Winkle (Vanilla Ice) over it.
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The Final Dakar
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Mar 12, 2015, 09:33 AM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
should copyright be based on the essence of a work, or the literally mechanical underpinnings,
The 'essence' of the work is a completely subjective measure that would abused to hell and back.

Never mind that the song in question is 30 years old and the artist is long dead.
     
ShortcutToMoncton
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Mar 12, 2015, 10:38 AM
 
Youtube mashup

P.S. I love both songs
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Chongo
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Mar 12, 2015, 11:02 AM
 
I remember when John Fogerty got sued for plagerizing a John Fogerty song.

Run Through the Jungle - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


This country version of this song realy shows why this case was awarded to the plaintif.
45/47
     
ShortcutToMoncton
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Mar 12, 2015, 11:40 AM
 
Originally Posted by residentEvil View Post
Ha! Same can be said about Def Leppard. I mean really, what else would a one armed bandit sound like? Hahaha.

My favorite case was with John Fogerty back in the early 90s though. Just gotta laugh at this stuff. Here is a quick rundown for those that don't remember.

The Time John Fogerty Was Sued for Ripping Off John Fogerty | Mental Floss
Originally Posted by Chongo View Post
I remember when John Fogerty got sued for plagerizing a John Fogerty song.

Run Through the Jungle - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


This country version of this song realy shows why this case was awarded to the plaintif.
You don't say
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Chongo
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Mar 12, 2015, 11:48 AM
 
Oops. I missed that Fogerty post. That's what I get for posting before the coffee kicked in!
45/47
     
Chongo
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Mar 12, 2015, 11:57 AM
 
Did Ted Nugent ever sue U2? Sam Smith paid Tom Petty and is now listed as one of the writers on "Stay with Me"
45/47
     
Spheric Harlot
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Mar 12, 2015, 12:20 PM
 
Couple thoughts:

What's really interesting is that industry insiders themselves are really divided on the issue.

Yes, it's derivative - Pharrell even explicitly acknowledged that. But it's derivative of a style. If you want to copyright styles and grooves, then, boy, are House, Techno, Rockabilly, blues, and any number of other genre-limited producers in trouble.

This is an understandable, but hellishly dangerous verdict, attempting to draw a line in the sand between homage and plagiarism.

Had Pharrell not claimed explicit and direct inspiration, he might have got off - but with that statement, he pre-determined the outcome by effectively admitting intent.

That said, Robin Thicke comes across as a complete dick in the whole thing.
     
ort888
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Mar 12, 2015, 12:49 PM
 
How many millions of songs exist in the world? At some point doesn't every single song sound a lot like some other song?

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ShortcutToMoncton
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Mar 12, 2015, 03:42 PM
 
At that point, it is infringement.
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besson3c  (op)
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Mar 12, 2015, 07:31 PM
 
Originally Posted by OAW View Post
For something like this the musical notes must match or be obviously derivative with respect to melody, harmonic structure, verse, accompaniment, etc. The same song with a different arrangement is "derivative". This is not the case b/c the two songs have the same "vibe" but not the same "structure". Now that Sam Smith song that one all the Grammy's is definitely biting Tom Petty. It's the same structure with a different tempo!

OAW

There is a problem with this though... This doesn't work as well with music that originally originated from the black community because their music was more of an aural tradition where the nuances of what was played was often more important than the actual notes and rhythms.

A clear example is a way of playing the blues. One could perform a perfect transcription of some of this music yet it still wouldn't sound right.
     
besson3c  (op)
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Mar 12, 2015, 07:32 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
Couple thoughts:

What's really interesting is that industry insiders themselves are really divided on the issue.

Yes, it's derivative - Pharrell even explicitly acknowledged that. But it's derivative of a style. If you want to copyright styles and grooves, then, boy, are House, Techno, Rockabilly, blues, and any number of other genre-limited producers in trouble.

This is an understandable, but hellishly dangerous verdict, attempting to draw a line in the sand between homage and plagiarism.

Had Pharrell not claimed explicit and direct inspiration, he might have got off - but with that statement, he pre-determined the outcome by effectively admitting intent.

That said, Robin Thicke comes across as a complete dick in the whole thing.

What do you think should be protected by copyright? If you were to redesign copyright law in the US/North America, how would you do it?
     
subego
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Mar 12, 2015, 07:44 PM
 
I'm going to make my own copyright!

With hashtags and 6,000 point fonts!
     
Spheric Harlot
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Mar 13, 2015, 01:03 AM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
What do you think should be protected by copyright? If you were to redesign copyright law in the US/North America, how would you do it?
Good grief - I couldn't possibly say!

But, similarly to patent law, I believe that there are cases that violate the spirit of why this protection was created, and this is one of those cases that blurs the lines.
     
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Mar 13, 2015, 03:49 AM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
blurs the lines.
I see what you did there
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Mar 13, 2015, 08:41 AM
 
     
Chongo
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Mar 13, 2015, 10:25 AM
 
Pharrell is screwed if they want to go to court and get another jury like the last one. That sound even more alike than Blurred Lines did.
45/47
     
OAW
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Mar 13, 2015, 07:04 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
There is a problem with this though... This doesn't work as well with music that originally originated from the black community because their music was more of an aural tradition where the nuances of what was played was often more important than the actual notes and rhythms.

A clear example is a way of playing the blues. One could perform a perfect transcription of some of this music yet it still wouldn't sound right.
It is true that in the black musical tradition the notes are more of a "roadmap" or "guideline". The life or "soul" was breathed into the music by the improvisation, nuance, tonality, rhythm, and all around musicianship of the artists as they performed a piece. This especially true of the Blues and its derivative art forms like Jazz, Gospel, early Rock & Roll, and Soul. To a lesser degree with R&B and Hip-Hop (though the latter retains the musical tradition of improvisation with the art form of "free-styling"). I'm a really big Jazz fan so I know how the same song performed by the same band can sound very different from one performance to the next. But in this instance I still think this case was wrongly decided. You can't just do a "mashup" by playing one track on top of the other and because it all "fits" together you conclude that one song is "copied" from the other. Again, you can have two very different songs that have the same "vibe" or "feel" that go well together. This is what any good DJ knows as they put together a mix and transition from one song to the next seamlessly. What I'm saying is that in order to successfully sue someone for copyright infringement of a musical piece there ought to be actual ... you know ... copying.

“My clients and I are understandably disappointed in the jury’s verdict, especially given their absolute conviction that Blurred Lines came from the hearts and souls of Pharrell Williams, Robin Thicke and TI, and no other place,” he said. “Should the verdict be allowed to stand, a terrible precedent will have been established that will deter the record labels that fund new music from getting involved with creations built on the shoulders of other composers. No longer will it be safe to create music in the same style or genre of a prior song.”

He continued: “There was no properly admissible evidence upon which the jury could have found copying. A comparison of the two songs readily reveals that there isn’t one note in the melody that’s the same, there isn’t one chord in the entire song that’s the same, and there are no more than three notes in the bass lines, out of 26 notes, that are the same.”

He added that “this matter is not finished by any stretch of the imagination”.
Marvin Gaye's family says Pharrell's Happy is another copy | Music | The Guardian

Listen to the "mashup" of Pharrell's smash hit "Happy" with Marvin Gaye's "Ain't That Peculiar" that Mattyb and Chongo just mentioned. Again, they "fit" because they have a similar structure and tempo. The "vibe" is the same. But at the end of the day they are very different songs which is readily apparent when you listen to them independently.



IMO a copyright infringement lawsuit should only be successful if there is wholesale sampling without proper songwriting credit and compensation.

OAW
     
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Mar 13, 2015, 08:41 PM
 
You don't own a "style", "vibe", or even the basic structure of a melody, and it bugs the hell out of me that Gay's family won this case, because all it will do is make commercial music even more litigious than it already is. It'll be overturned hopefully, and the sooner the better. The more I think about it the more it bothers me, now these ass clowns (the Gaye family) are going to go through and financially wreck anyone who was inspired by Marvin's music (even if they don't win the legal fees will crush most musicians), and considering how much the man did for the art, that's a pretty shitty tribute. F**kers.
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besson3c  (op)
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Mar 13, 2015, 09:28 PM
 
Why not? The essence music varies from artist to artist, there is no universal essence. We cannot say that even a complete melody is copyrightable necessarily because it can be completely disguised and rhythmically altered.
     
Waragainstsleep
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Mar 14, 2015, 06:11 AM
 
IMO the most important part of Blurred Lines is Emily Ratajkowski's boobs.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
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Mar 14, 2015, 07:08 AM
 
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
IMO the most important part of Blurred Lines is Emily Ratajkowski's boobs.
Well, I like her whole body in fact. Just having her boobies bouncing around would be creepy.
     
Waragainstsleep
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Mar 14, 2015, 07:51 AM
 
Or hilarious.
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Mar 14, 2015, 09:24 AM
 
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
IMO the most important part of Blurred Lines is Emily Ratajkowski's boobs.
Clean or unrated version?
45/47
     
Waragainstsleep
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Mar 14, 2015, 02:41 PM
 
Are they loose in the clean version?
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Mar 15, 2015, 03:31 AM
 
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
IMO the most important part of Blurred Lines is Emily Ratajkowski's boobs.
This interests me, and I would like to subscribe to your newsletter.
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Mar 15, 2015, 10:23 AM
 
Originally Posted by ort888 View Post
How many millions of songs exist in the world?
There is in fact, only one song.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdxkVQy7QLM
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Mar 15, 2015, 11:33 AM
 
Pachelbel's descendants are obviously more tolerant than Gaye's.
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Mar 15, 2015, 11:34 AM
 
This one is required viewing for all my students:



It's not quite fair, because many of the songs actually contain a few more chords (though many don't), but it's good fun.
     
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Mar 15, 2015, 11:56 AM
 
"I have a dream, that my four little children will one day live in a
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