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Recent controversy over infidelity, drug and alcohol use, and now, plagiarism seems to have blurred the lines of singer Robin Thicke’s life. He and singer, song producer, Pharrell Williams are headed to court and though they fired the first shot, it appears that they will be defending themselves against allegations of borrowing portions of hit song Blurred Lines from the creative genius of the late Marvin Gaye. Judge John Kronstadt rejected efforts made by Williams and Thicke to have the court rule that they had not helped themselves to any copyright protected material. Marvin Gaye’s children counter sued, alleging that the pair had, in fact, borrowed some of their father’s genius to compose the hit single.
Blurred Lines, dubbed Billboard’s 2013 “Hit of the Summer,” featured singer/producer Pharrell Williams and rapper, T.I., formerly Tip Harris, and stayed on Billboard’s Top 100 for 12 consecutive weeks making it the first song by a male lead to hold that position since 2004. The song, like the lead singer, however, has had its share of controversy.
It seems that while most people were jamming to the smooth sounds and Robin Thicke was enjoying a level of success his previous five albums had not garnered, feminist groups around the globe were taking issue with the song’s lyrics. The words, “You know you want it,” are considered especially grievous in a world where sexual assault and violence against women is all too common. It was whispered that he may have misogynistic tendencies and a widely televised onstage twerking session with Miley Cyrus last fall did little to refute the perceptions some had formed.
Robin may have finally felt that his career had taken off but in the midst of all the celebration, his wife, actress, Paula Patton, decided to call it quits. Some fans were sympathetic and cheered Thicke on hoping that the two, who had been teenage sweethearts, would reconcile. Unfortunately, his efforts to win Patton back like the album titled Paula he dedicated to her in hopes of paving the way, failed miserably and the lines of Thicke’s life got blurrier still.
Sadly, Thicke’s latest endeavor, bringing suit against the estate of the late R&B crooner, Marvin Gaye, may also be unsuccessful. Thicke and Williams were allegedly receiving threats from Gaye’s family. Thicke was said to be obsessed with Gaye’s sound. The family filed a counterclaim alleging that Blurred Lines is a little too similar to Gaye’s hit single, Got to Give it Up. Both sides reportedly produced their own experts to offer testimony but in the end, Judge Kronstad ruled that Gaye’s children, “…Made a sufficient showing that elements of ‘Blurred Lines’ may be substantially similar to protected, original elements of ‘Got to Give It Up.'”
Ironically, it has recently been revealed that Robin Thicke did not actually write the song. It has been reported that Williams had already penned the majority of the song when Thicke arrived, very late and significantly impaired, for their meeting. He says that he has spent the last year or so in a drug and alcohol induced haze and lied repeatedly about his creative contribution to the hit song. The trial will be held in Feb. 2015. As for Robin Thicke, who has recently declared himself free of drugs if not alcohol, his fans are likely hoping that he will use the next few months as an opportunity to straighten the blurry lines of his life.
By Constance Spruill