Billboard has learned that Robin Thicke’s team offered a six-figure sum to members of Marvin Gaye family in order to preempt a copyright infringement showdown, but the family turned it down.
According to sources knowledgeable with the lawsuit, the settlement offer came after Frankie Christian Gaye, Marvin Gaye III and Nona Marvisa Gaye accused Thicke's "Blurred Lines" hit single of plagiarizing "Got To Give it Up," written and composed by Marvin Gaye, who died in 1984.
Subsequently, Thicke, along with "Blurred Lines" co-writers Pharrell Williams and Clifford Harris, Jr., filed a lawsuit on Aug. 15 in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles requesting a ruling that "Blurred Lines" does not infringe on "Got To Give It Up." It also requested a similar judgement with regard to another accusation, by Bridgeport Music Inc., that "Blurred Lines" infringed on George Clinton's "Sexy Ways."
Bridgeport and the Gaye family's attorney, Richard Busch, did not return calls requesting comment. Thicke's law firm, King, Holmes, Paterno & Berliner, declined to comment.
In an interview with TMZ, Gaye's son, Marvin Gaye III said, "We’re not happy with the way that he went about doing business let alone suing us for something where he clearly got his inspiration from at the least."
During an interview with GQ magazine in May about his career and the making of "Blurred Lines," Thicke said, "one of my favorite songs of all time was Marvin Gaye's 'Got to Give It Up.' I was like, 'Damn, we should make something like that, something with that groove.' Then he started playing a little something and we literally wrote the song in about a half hour and recorded it. The whole thing was done in a couple hours."
Thicke's lawsuit said the "intent in producing 'Blurred Lines' was to evoke an era. In reality, the Gaye defendants are claiming ownership of an entire genre.... The reality is that the songs themselves are starkly different."
The question remains, how different are they? Which may be up to a judge to decide.
For a detailed legal analysis of the lawsuit -- and how it could change the landscape for music copyrights -- pick-up this week's issue of Billboard here.