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Gaye family files counterclaim against Thicke

Massachusetts music fans may have heard that the family of the late singer Marvin Gaye recently filed suit against pop star Robin Thicke alleging that he sampled the R&B legend's catalog inappropriately. The business litigation plaintiffs said that Thicke needed to cease what they considered copyright infringement. They also called him to stop trying to attract attention by telling people he was inspired by Gaye's song "Got to Give It Up".

Gaye's family alleged in the suit that Thicke has made a habit of unlawfully copying from the late singer, who passed away in 1984. The counterclaim suit also accused Thicke of ripping off the singer's song "After the Dance" when he co-wrote the song "Love After War". Thicke and his collaborators had filed a lawsuit in August that asked the court to rule that their hit song "Blurred Lines" did not excessively reference Gaye's 1977 chart-topper "Got to Give It Up". Although Thicke had previously acknowledged that he was inspired by Gaye's music, he argued in his suit that the lyrics and music of his song are original.

Thicke maintains that the Gaye family had told him that unless a financial settlement was reached they would take legal action, and therefore he preemptively filed his action. The lawsuit recently filed by the Gaye family serves as a counterclaim to the original filing by Thicke.

Marvin Gaye's family quoted music experts and critics in accusing Robin Thicke of fixating on the style and content of the late singer's catalog. They asked the court to force Thicke to stop infringing on their copyrights as well as for unspecified damages. They claim that "Blurred Lines" was not the first or only time Thicke has stolen from Gaye's classic songs.

Source: USA Today, "Lawsuit: Thicke blurred lines between admiration, theft", Nate Rau, October 30, 2013

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