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2014 Billboard Music Awards - Roaming Show

Source: Christopher Polk/Billboard Awards 2014 / Getty

In 1977 Marvin Gaye had a hit song titled ‘Got To Give It Up’. In 2013 Robin Thicke had a hit song titled ‘Blurred Lines’. The two songs had a similar sound and feel, so similar that the estate of Marvin Gaye sued for copyright infringement.  In 2015 a court agreed with the Marvin Gaye estate and awarded it $5.3m in damages.  The creators of Robin Thicke’s 2013 hit appealed that decision and lost.  The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has upheld the 2015 verdict by a vote of 2-1.  The Judge who dissented says that the two tracks “differed in melody, harmony and rhythm” and that it “strikes a devastating blow to future musicians and composers everywhere”.  Many artists signed a letter voicing alarm at the precedent that was being set.  They believe it will stifle their creativity. While it may be a victory for the Marvin Gaye estate it may be a blow to creativity in the music industry. Some say that it will challenge current artists to be more original and creative asking “what was the last truly original song that you have heard on the radio?”

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