Marvin Gaye’s family has filed a countersuit against Robin Thicke, and is claiming that the R&B singer stole two songs from the late “Prince of Soul.”
The family alleges that Thicke not only infringed upon Gaye’s “Got to Give It Up” for his summer hit “Blurred Lines,” but that he also committed copyright infringement on “After the Dance” for the title track from his 2011 album, Love After War.
Nona and Frankie Gaye filed the lawsuit Wednesday, and are asking for damages, including profits from the songs, according to TMZ. The siblings also claimed that Thicke practically admitted that he copied “Blurred Lines” from “Got to Give It Up” in interviews with GQ and Billboard.
“Pharrell and I were in the studio and I told him that one of my favorite songs of all time was Marvin Gaye’s ‘Got to Give it Up,'” Thicke said in a GQ interview. “I was like, ‘D**n, we should make something like that, something with that groove.'”
But in an interview with TMZ after he filed his lawsuit, Thicke said he wasn’t thinking of Marvin Gaye when he wrote the song.
The Gaye family cited music critics who noted the similarities between their father’s work and “Blurred Lines.” New York Times critic Jon Caramanica noted that the song was “heavily influenced” by “Got to Give It Up,” and that it and other songs on the album “sound helicoptered in from three or four decades ago.”
Robin Thicke, Pharrell Williams, and Clifford “T.I.” Harris Jr. “reluctantly” filed a lawsuit against Gaye’s estate and Bridgeport Music, which owns some of Funkadelic’s compositions, in August. The trio claimed that there was no similarity between “Blurred Lines,” “Got To Give It Up” and Funkadelic’s “Sexy Ways” “other than commonplace musical elements.” They also sought a declaration that the “Gayes do not have an interest in the copyright to the composition ‘Got To Give It Up’ sufficient to confer standing on them to pursue claims of infringement of that composition.”
Marvin Gaye III, who is not part of the lawsuit filed by Nona and Frankie Gaye, said anyone who listens to both songs will be able to hear the similarities. He also said Thicke would not have filled the lawsuit if he didn’t do anything wrong.
The Gaye family also claims that EMI breached a contract and its fiduciary duty by not protecting Gaye’s songs, and that the the company attempted to intimidate the family against taking legal action, according to The Hollywood Reporter. They claim that EMI, which has business relationships with both parties, failed to remain neutral and attempted to turn public opinion against the family.