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The plagiarism case of Robin Thicke and Pharell Williams

Explore the "Blurred Lines" plagiarism case's impact on music copyright, lessons learned, and the importance of respecting creative ownership.


The Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams plagiarism case in 2013 was a hot topic in the music industry, and a reminder of the importance of respecting copyright. The lawsuit, which claimed that Thicke and Williams' song 'Blurred Lines' infringed the copyright of Marvin Gaye's song 'Got to Give It Up', had a significant impact on the perception of plagiarism and copyright protection in music. In this article, we will discuss the details of the case and the lessons it has taught us about copyright in the music industry.

The case

In 2013, Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams released Blurred Lines, which quickly became an international hit. However, the family of Marvin Gaye filed a copyright infringement lawsuit, claiming the song was too similar to 1977's "Got to Give It Up."

In 2015, a jury ruled in favour of Gaye's family, awarding them more than $7 million in damages. The verdict was appealed, but in 2018 an appeals court upheld the decision, although it reduced the damages to $5.3 million.

Lessons learned

The case of Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams highlights the importance of respecting copyrights and being aware of the similarities between works in the music industry. Here are some lessons to learn from the case:

Know your copyright

Musicians should be familiar with copyright law and how it applies to their work and that of other artists.

The line between inspiration and plagiarism

Inspiration is a natural part of the creative process, but it is important to recognise the difference between being inspired by a work and copying it.

The importance of originality

Originality is key in the music industry. Be sure to create unique and genuine work to avoid legal problems.

Legal advice

If you are in doubt whether your work is too similar to another artist's, consult a copyright lawyer before publishing.

The bottom line

The Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams plagiarism case is an important reminder of the importance of copyright and intellectual property protection in the music industry. By understanding copyright and respecting the work of other artists, musicians can ensure originality and protect their creations and the legacy of those whose work inspires them.

Image taken from "Blurred Lines" music video

Author Gabriel Espinoza

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