July 13, 2024 #1 Local News, Information and Event Source for the Century City/Westwood areas.

Update: Forensic musicologist in ‘Blurred Lines’ trial hears little similarities

Courtesy Image
Courtesy Image

A forensic musicologist told jurors on Tuesday in a Los Angeles federal copyright trial that hit songs by Robin Thicke and Marvin Gaye are “very, very different” and that contested musical passages in both songs have little in common.

Sandy Wilbur, a New York-based composer and producer who has served as a consultant in other music copyright cases, testified for the defense in litigation alleging that more than a half-dozen key elements in Thicke’s 2013 megahit “Blurred Lines” were derived from Gaye’s 1977 chart-topper “Got to Give It Up.”

During hours of questioning by Thicke attorney Seth Miller, Wilbur said “Blurred Lines” did not share any melodic phrases, harmonies, two-note sequences, verse melodies, pitch or a rhythm pattern in common with the Gaye track.

Using a keyboard in the witness box, Wilbur played the “Blurred Lines” verse melody, followed by the same section from “Got to Give It Up,” concluding that the sections were “very, very different.”

Wilbur was called by Thicke’s side on the trial’s fifth day after attorneys for Gaye’s children wrapped up their case.

“There are no virgin births in music — we’re all inspired by people who came before,” Wilbur told the jury. “Marvin Gaye was a brilliant man who was inspired by others, just as he inspired others.”

Asked what percentage of “Blurred Lines” was similar to the “Got to Give It Up” sheet music — which is the central issue in the case — Wilber responded, “Somewhere under 5 percent.”

Since Thicke took the stand for several hours last week, the case has become a battle of musicologists testifying as expert witnesses on the alleged similarities — or lack of them — between the songs.

Thick and co-defendant Pharrell Williams were not in court today, but could testify Wednesday. Closing arguments are expected the following day.

On Friday, plaintiffs’ musicologist Ingrid T. Monson told the eight- member civil jury that similarities between the two songs could be found in comparisons of “melody, harmony and phrase structure,” while keyboard and bass parts are “shared.”

Playing for the jury a prepared recording in which a keyboardist plays a segment of  “Blurred Lines” with Gaye’s isolated “Got to Give It Up” vocals superimposed over the top, Monson testified that the “melodies and harmonies are compatible.”

Responding to Gaye family attorney Richard S. Busch, Monson said it was “possible that while ‘Blurred Lines’ was being created, ‘Got to Give It Up’ was playing in the background.”

That answer was stricken by U.S. District Judge John A. Kronstadt.

The lawsuit was originally brought two years ago by Thicke, singer/producer Williams and song co-writer Clifford “T.I.” Harris Jr. as a preemptive strike to protect “Blurred Lines’ from legal claims that it was derived from the decades-old Gaye hit.

Frankie and Nona Gaye then filed counterclaims alleging that Thicke’s apparent fascination with their late father led to the misappropriation of Marvin Gaye’s work in the creation of “Blurred Lines” and the title track of the pop star’s 2011 “Love After War’ album.

The Gaye clan contend that Thicke and Williams plagiarized at least eight key elements of “Got to Give It Up.”

At issue is whether Thicke and Williams lifted the Gaye song’s compositional parts, including the melody line found on the registered sheet music, rather than the overall sound and atmosphere of the record.

Thicke testified Tuesday that he couldn’t read music, and Williams indicated as much in an April 2014 deposition played for the jury.

The Gayes contend that “Blurred Lines” has earned more than $40 million, including $11 million in tour proceeds, since its 2013 release.

Thicke co-counsel Howard E. King countered that although the song was profitable, its earnings were not close to the $40 million figure. King also said that the Gaye family earns about $100,000 a year from “Got to Give It Up” alone.

Writing credits on “Blurred Lines” are shared by Thicke, Williams and Harris, while the production is credited to Williams.

The Gayes’ lawsuit also accuses Thicke of lifting from their father’s “After the Dance” for “Love After War.”

“Blurred Lines” sold about 15 million copies worldwide, according to Billboard.

Marvin Gaye was shot to death by his father in Los Angeles on April 1, 1984.

Related Posts

Summer at Annenberg:Swim Daily and Watch the Sunset

July 12, 2024

July 12, 2024

By Susan Payne A unique, inclusive community destination along the Pacific Coast Highway of Santa Monica is inviting you to...

(Video) Two Different Angles of a Firecracker Being Tossed Into a Garage in Brentwood

July 12, 2024

July 12, 2024

A series of incidents where teens threw firecrackers have been happening in Brentwood since April. In this case, the firework...

Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner’s Daughter Advocates for Long Covid Awareness and Safety Measures

July 11, 2024

July 11, 2024

Brentwood Resident Speaks Out Opposing Mask Bans, Calling for Covid Protections in County Facilities Violet Affleck, daughter of actors Ben...

Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck Have Formally Listed Their $68 Million Beverly Hills Mansion For Sale

July 11, 2024

July 11, 2024

Amid Rumors, the Actors Have Placed Their Family Home on the Market Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck have officially put...

Kroger and Albertsons Reveal List of Stores to be Divested in $25 Billion Merger

July 11, 2024

July 11, 2024

Eleven Stores in West Los Angeles Among Locations to be Sold  The Kroger Company and Albertsons Companies Inc. have announced...

(Video) Renowned Soprano Singer to Make L.A. Homecoming at Broad Stage

July 11, 2024

July 11, 2024

Golda is scheduled to perform on July 13 at 8 p.m. @centurycitywestwoodnews This Saprano singer is set to take the...

UCLA Student Housing Break-In Leads to Sexual Assault Charges

July 11, 2024

July 11, 2024

Suspect Faces Up to 25 Years to Life in Prison if Convicted Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón announced...

Dine LA Restaurant Week Returns to Celebrate Culinary Diversity With Amazing Deals

July 10, 2024

July 10, 2024

Special Menus at Hundreds of Local Restaurants from July 12 to July 26 Dine LA Restaurant Week will be returning...

Reward Offered for Information on Abused German Shepherd Found Near Malibu Creek Canyon

July 10, 2024

July 10, 2024

Groups Seek Justice for Argon, Dog Discovered with Zip-Tied Mouth and Neck In Defense of Animals and Peace 4 Animals...

Viral Tweet Spurs Screening of Michael Mann’s Miami Vice at the Lumiere Cinema in Beverly Hills

July 10, 2024

July 10, 2024

Independent Theater to Showcase 2006 Film on July 13 Following Online Debate By Dolores Quintana Following an unexpected turn of...

LAPD Detectives and LASD Nab Group Responsible for Over 30 Residential Burglaries

July 10, 2024

July 10, 2024

“Reflector Vest Crew” Burglary Suspects Arrested in Los Angeles In collaboration with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Major Crimes...

Santa Monica Artist Dave Quick’s “Return from the Burn” Exhibition to Open at Bergamot’s Lois Lambert Gallery

July 10, 2024

July 10, 2024

Pre-Burning Man Showcase Features Kinetic Art and Sculptures Coated with Playa Dust, Opens July 13 With upwards of 80,000 attendees,...

(Video) Newly Rebranded Santa Monica Hotel Shines a New Light on the Neighborhood

July 9, 2024

July 9, 2024

The Revitalized Business is Also Available For Events @centurycitywestwoodnews The newly rebranded Santa Monica Hotel casts a new light on...

Award-Winning Soprano Makes Broad Stage Debut

July 9, 2024

July 9, 2024

Golda Zahra to Perform in LA July 13 By Susan Payne Renowned Soprano Golda Zahra is making her homecoming back...

Electric Lodge Hosts Summer Empowerment Fair

July 9, 2024

July 9, 2024

Performing Arts Center Partners with LADWP By Susan Payne Performance. Sustainability. Community. These are three virtues leading the charge for...