The estate of Marvin Gaye is currently involved in a copyright dispute with the singer Robin Thicke. The estate has sought to use Thicke’s public statements against him. His reason why they should not do so is unusual.
Robin Thicke has often said that Marvin Gaye’s song “Got To Give It Up” was an inspiration for his own hit song “Blurred Lines.” There are many similarities between the two songs. When Gaye’s estate threatened legal action for copyright violations, Thicke and co-writer Pharrell Williams preemptively sued the estate and asked for a judgment declaring that they did not violate the estate’s copyrights. The estate countersued.
Currently, the case is making its way through the court system and Thicke’s deposition testimony was leaked to the press. In it, Thicke claimed that all of his public statements could not be used against him because he made them all while drunk and high. He further claims that even though he was present when the song was written, he had no part in it because he was too high. Gaye’s estate is understandably not amused. The A.V. Club has the full story in an article titled “Robin Thicke says he can’t be blamed for ‘Blurred Lines’ because he was high.”
Most estates will not find themselves involved in this type of bizarre litigation, but when copyright infringement issues are involved unusual things oftentimes surface. If you hold copyrights, then it is important to have your estate planning in order in case your estate needs to enforce them. In this case, we will have to wait and see what a judge thinks about Thicke’s excuse. It is not likely to go over very well.
Reference: A.V. Club (September 15, 2014) “Robin Thicke says he can’t be blamed for ‘Blurred Lines’ because he was high“
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