Society and Culture

Blurred Lines Was a Rip Off

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Hey y’all!

I’m a big music fan–especially good music. In my opinion though, “Blurred Lines” by Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke does not fall into that category. Sure the tune is catchy but listen to the words. Really listen to them, and of course watch the music video. I’m sure it was a just a fun thing for these guys to do one night but I bet they are regretting it now.

A jury in California found that the song was a rip off from Marvin Gaye’s “Got To Give It Up” — a song I know and love. The jury awarded Marvin Gaye’s family $7.4 million. That’s a lot of dough for one song!

I know both songs pretty well; one because its fun to listen to and the other because radio stations don’t know how to take a song off of repeat when it is released. I’m no music expert, just an enthusiast, but I have to wonder what is considered plagiarism and what is considered influence when creating music.

Pharrell claims that he grew up listening to Marvin Gaye so I am sure “Got to Give it Up” was included. It was probably one of those songs he listened to all the time and perhaps that catchy tune stayed with him and he wanted to express his love for it through the creation of his own with a little bit of a similar beat.

According to an expert supplied by Gaye’s family, there are “eight distinct elements” from ‘Got to Give It Up’ used in ‘Blurred Lines’. Eight elements. Is that like eight notes used consecutively that made it sound like it was ripped right from Gaye’s song? Or was it eight different pieces of ‘Blurred Lines’ that could possibly be the same as Gaye’s song because they are presented in the same manner or located at about the same point in the songs? I don’t get it.

I also have a tiny issue with the fact that jurors were subjected to hearing the entirety of ‘Blurred Lines’ on several occasions but none of those jurors got to hear Gaye’s song. It was taken apart and only played based off of sheet music. If that were the case then why didn’t they pick apart ‘Blurred Lines’ and present it to the jury solely based off of the sheet music? Again, I am not a fan of ‘Blurred Lines’ but I feel like this should have been a fair fight and it wasn’t.

I do feel bad for Pharrell because he is the one who signed a document stating he was the sole responsible party for any copyright claims. Kiss $7.4 million goodbye, Pharrell. But then again that just might be chump change to  him these days. On another note, Thicke had to fess up to not having a single thing to do with writing the song, so he looked like a fool.

Seems to me like “Blurred Lines” would have been best left on a shelf in some producer’s office instead of forcing its awfulness on to the masses and then creating all of this pain and anguish for Gaye’s family, Pharrell, and Thicke.

Allison Dawson
Allison Dawson was born in Germany and raised in Mississippi and Texas. A graduate of Texas Tech University and Arizona State University, she’s currently dedicating her life to studying for the LSAT. Twitter junkie. Conservative. Get in touch with Allison at



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