Marvin Gaye’s son reportedly suing makers of TV show ‘Empire’ for plagiarism

Marvin Gaye III claims to have had the idea of a similar show

The son of Marvin Gaye is reportedly suing the makers of Fox TV show Empire, claiming that he had an idea for a similar show first.

Empireis a US drama that centres around the hip-hop industry and particularly follows a family running a entertainment company. It premiered in January.

Now, as TMZ reports, Gaye’s son Marvin Gaye III claims to have registered a treatment for a similar show the Writers Guild of America in 2010. Gaye’s show was titled Diamonds & Ballads.


Gaye’s lawyer recently told TMZ that he plans to file a lawsuit against creator Lee Daniels, Fox, plus others. He alleges that associates of Daniels had been pitched the idea of Diamonds & Ballads in the past.


Earlier this year, a court found that Robin Thicke’s ‘Blurred Lines’ had copied Marvin Gaye’s 1977 single ‘Got To Give It Up’.

It was ruled that Thicke and Pharrell Williams – who helped write the track – must pay $7.3 million (£4.8 million) to Gaye’s family as compensation.

The lawsuit was brought by Gaye’s children Nona, Frankie and Marvin Gaye III, who inherited the copyright to the soul legend’s music following his death in 1984. The trial came as a result of a pre-emptive August 2013 lawsuit filed by Thicke and Williams who sought to affirm that ‘Blurred Lines’ is “strikingly different” to ‘Got To Give It Up’.

During the trial, which began on February 25, Williams spent more than an hour describing his musical process and how he came to write ‘Blurred Lines’, which took him about one hour in 2012. Though he admitted a similarity between the track and ‘Got To Give It Up’, he said the Gaye song never entered his head during the writing process, merely that he was “channelling… that late-’70s feeling”.

Singer Thicke performed a medley of songs in court as evidence that many tracks share similar chords and melodies without necessarily copying one another. His performance included tracks by artists including U2, Bob Marley and The Beatles.


It is thought that Pharrell and Thicke have earned over $5 million (£3 million) each from the profits of the Grammy-winning single. Total profits from the single are estimated to exceed $16 million (£10.8 million), and it has sold well over one million copies in the UK, taking the title of 2013’s biggest selling single.