Don’t Blur The Lines When It Comes to Copyright Infringement

A jury in the United States has found that singers Robin Thicke and Pharell Williams copied Marvin Gaye’s copyright-protected music when creating their hit single Blurred Lines.

The Gaye family were awarded $7.3m in damages after a verdict that the writers had breached copyright to the soul singer’s Got To Give It Up. It is expected that the family will now seek an injunction prohibiting any further sales of Blurred Lines until an agreement can be reached as to the attribution of future proceeds of record sales.

The decision in this case comes in the wake of a recent settlement between Sam Smith and Tom Petty, in which Smith acknowledged similarities between his song Stay With Me and Petty’s Won’t Back Down and agreed to give writing credit and royalties to the American singer.

These high-profile cases serve as a useful reminder as to the importance of firstly ensuring that your intellectual property rights are adequately protected to prevent unauthorised use by other parties. Having the requisite protection in place can enable you to grant licences to others to use your intellectual property for commercial gain.

For advice and assistance on identifying, protecting and exploiting your intellectual property and wider business interests, please contact John Pickervance in the Business Law Department by telephone on 0800 037 4628 or via our Contact Form.

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