In case you somehow missed it, earlier this week Robin Thicke, Pharrell Williams and T.I’s 2013 pop hit ‘Blurred Lines’ was declared to have copied Marvin Gaye’s ‘Got To Give It Up’ by jury, forcing the artists to pay a staggering $7.4 million to the Gaye Estate.

Since the hefty verdict was laid down in the Californian court, the musical world has been in a state of panic, many outraged that the decision was based on a vague term – that ‘Blurred Lines’ was plagiarising the “vibe” of Gaye’s ‘Got To Give It Up’ – including Thicke and Pharrell who will be appealing the harsh penalty, as The Hollywood Reporter (via Pitchfork) reports.

Thicke and Pharrell’s attorney Howard E. King has said that they’ll be appealing the verdict, stating the following, “We owe it to songwriters around the world to make sure this verdict doesn’t stand,” King said. “We are going to exercise every post-trial remedy we have to make sure this verdict does not stand. Just because eight people think two songs are similar doesn’t mean they are. I think this is a horrible decision that is going to affect whether or not record labels provide the necessary funds for new music to be created.”

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Thicke, Williams and T.I were stunned by the trial’s outcome, “While we respect the judicial process, we are extremely disappointed in the ruling made today, which sets a horrible precedent for music and creativity going forward” writes Billboard

Wallace Collins, an entertainment lawyer who has worked in the business for over 30 years weighed-in on the controversial outcome via Hypebot, “The genre or musical style of a song is not protectable under copyright law – the lyrics and the melody are, but that was not the allegation in this case. The claim here was that defendants copied the style of the Marvin Gaye song, and I do not believe that the jury’s decision would be upheld on appeal as a matter of copyright law (although a jury might not understand that concept).”

“To date, this is the only copyright infringement lawsuit ever in which no melody, harmony, rhythm or lyrics were copied. The ‘that songs reminds me of another song’ threshold would be a new legal standard. If this is the new threshold for copyright infringement, a lot of modern artists (like Bruno Mars) and ’60s British artists (from the Beatles to Led Zeppelin) could be in trouble” he points out.

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Collins’ facts coupled with the statement released by the defendants raises concern for the “future precedent argument”, if a song can be on trial based on plagiarising a “vibe” what the hell does that say for the bulk of popular music in history? Are we now going to see the likes of Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath take death pretty much every metal act for stealing their vibe?

Fair enough, there have been plenty of cases where certain musicians have blatantly ripped a melody or song structure to which legal action has been necessary, however if Thicke, Williams and T.I lose their appeal for stealing a “vibe”, we could be staring down the barrel of a very frightening future for music where an endless list of songs, albums, hell entire bands could be targeted for such an absurd and ambiguous reasoning.

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