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More blurry « Ted's Polish-Mexican Page

More blurry

Categories: Not So Local Music
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Published on: March 12, 2015

I hated Blurred Lines when it came out a couple of years ago. The one redeeming feature of it is the hook that was lifted from Marvin Gaye, which as we know has been found by a court to be plagiarism.

Thicke did himself no favors with his testimony, which showed him to be as much of a jackass as a song that all-but endorses date rape would indicate him to be. It’s kinda fun seeing him hoisted on his own douchey petard.

Rock ‘n’ Roll, and all the forms of pop music that have sprung from it in one way or another, has been organized theft for generations. Where is that line between being influenced by what came previously and ripping it off? Are you just using a riff that has become a common part of musical language or are you lifting a song? Blurred lines, indeed.

I suppose one way you can do it is by avoiding ripping off a song that you famously covered:

Or, at least don’t use the title of the song you are ripping off:

Yeah, well.

As much as I like to see the smug Thick slapped around for his smuggest song, there might be a problem here. Back in 1991, Biz Markie lifted an entire Gilbert O’Sullivan song and threw new lyrics on top of it. It was not a “sample,” it was theft. When the court ruled against him, record companies got nervous. Hip Hop acts who were constructing music out of pastiches of found sounds were lumped in with Biz Markie even though they were doing something far different. No one wanted to get sued, so even someone like Terminator X was caught up in the prop wash. It made Hip Hop into much more of a producer’s medium and sidelined the talented DJ’s.

LA Weekly points out that much the same thing could happen out of this case. At least it might keep people from bragging about who they are ripping off, I guess.

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