Sony/ATV Settles With Marvin Gaye’s Family In “Blurred Lines” Lawsuit

Marvin Gaye & Robin Thicke

The heavyweight copyright lawsuit over “Blurred Lines” isn’t over, but thanks to a settlement among some of the parties, the case will no longer put one music giant in an uncomfortable position. Robin Thicke was the first to bring litigation and sought declaratory relief that his mega-hit song wasn’t an improper copy of Marvin Gaye’s “Got To Give It Up.” In response, Gaye’s children not only brought counterclaims against Thicke and his producers, but also targeted EMI April, owned by Sony/ATV, for allegedly breaching its obligations to protect the Gaye catalogue. According to the Gaye family’s court papers, EMI also administered rights on “Blurred Lines” and didn’t want Gaye’s family getting in the way of the song’s ongoing success. The chairman of EMI is even said to have contacted Gaye’s legal representative with warnings about making a frivolous claim. Put in the cross-fire, Sony/ATV responded that the family’s move to rescind their contractual relationship had been “ill-advised.” 

Now, comes a settlement agreement between Gaye’s family and the music publisher. Terms haven’t been made public. The agreement means that Sony/ATV won’t have to defend their impartiality in administering copyrights to both Thicke’s work and Gaye’s. It will also release the company from having to address what was said to have been a conflict inherent in owning 30 percent of the music publishing market. However, it won’t completely finish the involvement of Sony/ATV in the lingering dispute between Thicke and Gaye’s children. As discovery is pursued, and as the case pushes its way to a potential trial, Thicke’s camp will likely want a jury to hear exactly why Sony concluded the songs were not substantially similar.

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