MUSIC THEORY eJOURNAL

"Blurred Lines — Where Copyright Ends and Cultural Appropriation Begins — The Case of Robin Thicke versus Bridgeport Music, and the Estate of Marvin Gaye" Free Download
Hastings Communications and Entertainment Law Journal, Vol. 36, No. 2, 2014 (pp. 217-242)

TONI LESTER, Babson College

This article covers the copyright theft lawsuit brought by the family of the great soul singer, Marvin Gaye, against singer/songwriters Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams over their hit, “Blurred Lines?. The case goes to the very heart of how we define what is creative and innovative, the very things that US copyright law is supposed to protect. Courts in the US tend to favor European-influenced melodies over harmonic progressions and African-American influenced rhythms in copyright theft cases. The article explores how this phenomenon has the potential to allow for certain forms of unfair cultural appropriation to take place, and makes some preliminary predictions about the ultimate outcome of the case.

Note: Readers and others who download this paper should only use it for nonprofit research and teaching purposes, and give attribution to the author if you quote from it. Contact the author if you prefer other uses.

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This eJournal is a comprehensive and exhaustive site for music theory research which includes aesthetics, post-tonal theory, linear analysis, rhythm, music cognition, and theory pedagogy. The eJournal solicits articles that discuss theoretical constructs and paradigms of music from Antiquity to the twenty-first century and genres ranging from Western art music to popular music to world music. It also contains research that addresses theoretical issues of and perspectives on the state and direction of the discipline.

Editor: Richard Cornell, Boston University

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MRCN SUBJECT MATTER EJOURNALS

ANDRE DE QUADROS
Boston University - School of Music
Email: adq@bu.edu

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Advisory Board

Music Theory eJournal

JANET R. BARRETT
Professor of Music Education, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

MICHAEL BECKERMAN
Carroll and Milton Petrie Professor of Music, New York University (NYU) - Department of Music

PHILIP BRUNELLE
Artistic Director and Founder, VocalEssence, Vice President, International Federation for Choral Music (IFCM)

VICTOR COELHO
Professor of Music, Musicology and Ethnomusicology, Boston University

SUSAN WHARTON CONKLING
Professor of Music, Chair, Department of Music Education, Boston University - School of Music

STEVEN CORNELIUS
Lecturer, University of Massachusetts Boston; Visiting Scholar, Phillips Academy

BETTY ANNE YOUNKER
Professor of Music, Music Education, Dean, Don Wright Faculty of Music - University of Western Ontario