Sign up for the Ratter Newsletter and get our top stories delivered straight to you.
We won’t spam you, we promise. We’re talking one email a week max.
The jury that will decide whether Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams' "Blurred Lines" is a ripoff of Marvin Gaye's "Got To Give It Up" aren't allowed to listen to "Got To Give It Up" — at least, not the version that we're used to. In a bizarre ruling, the judge has decided that the jury can only hear the bits of the song that are covered by an antiquated copyright law.
Here's the version of Marvin Gaye© that the jury will hear when the trial begins next week:
On Monday, copyright activist and Ratter contributor Parker Higgins predicted that the "fire mixtape of pure copyrightium" approved by the court would likely sound "like the MIDI version that auto-played on a Geocities home page, or a rendition by the animatronic band at Chuck E. Cheese."
He's not wrong — the court-approved track features a stripped down MIDI melody that excludes the bass line and party sounds that make the radio versions of "Blurred Lines" and "Got To Give It Up" sound so similar.
Despite this setback, the musicologist hired by the Gaye camp still manages to make a compelling PowerPoint argument that Williams and Thicke's hit copied the Gaye classic. She breaks the songs down into clips like the one pictured above, pointing out similarities in the melodies, hooks, and instrumentals — all illustrated with MIDI tracks.
In the interest of fairness, the jury will also be treated to the smooth, copyrighted sounds of Williams and Thicke:
The trial begins Tuesday in Los Angeles.
[Update: On March 10, 2015, a federal jury found "Blurred Lines" infringed on "Got to Give It Up” and awarded nearly $7.4 million to Gaye's children.1]
images and audio via United States District Court, Central District of California