Gaye’s estate and Thicke are already stuck in a legal battle due to a copyright dispute, with Gaye’s other children accusing Thicke’s transatlantic Number One hit ‘Blurred Lines’ of ripping off ‘Got To Give It Up’, a 1977 single by the late soul singer, as well as ‘After The Dance’ on his 2011 track ‘Love After War’. Until now, Marvin Gaye III had not been involved in the case, but has now hired his own lawyer and filed a counterclaim in the suit.
The Hollywood Reporter writes that the singer’s son alleges that Thicke has copied four songs from his father, but is only bringing copyright claims on ‘Blurred Lines’ and ‘Love After War’, like his siblings. The counterclaim states: “Thicke’s ‘Blurred Lines’ (copied from Gaye’s ‘Got To Give It Up’), Thicke’s ‘Love After War’ (copied from Gaye’s ‘After The Dance’), Thicke’s ‘Make U Love Me’ (copied from Gaye’s ‘I Want You’), and Thicke’s ‘Million Dolla Baby’ (copied from Gaye’s ‘Trouble Man’) all serve as examples of songs so similar to Gaye’s songs as to leave no doubt but that they were each wholly dependent for their very creations upon Thicke’s brazen copying.”
However, as the Hollywood Reporter points out, if Marvin Gaye III’s new suit is successful, this could cause issues with the distribution of damages payments amongst the family. The other members of Gaye’s family have also targeted the late singer’s music publisher EMI April, which operates under Sony/ATV, the company which manages Thicke’s output, for failing to protect his songs and trying to frighten them out of taking legal action. In addition they have said that EMI’s chairman and legal representative accused them of “ruining an incredible song” and stopping ‘Blurred Lines” chance of winning awards at the MTV VMAs and Grammys, and alleged that the story claiming they had turned down a six-figure settlement over the dispute was “planted” in an attempt to make them “appear unreasonable”.
Blurred Lines’ is the 137th single in the 60-year history of the British charts to sell over a million copies in the UK. Both Vampire Weekend and Queens Of The Stone Age have covered it.