A US judge has ruled that a plagiarism dispute over Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” song should be settled in court.
The family of Marvin Gaye claim that the hit track, also featuring Pharrell Williams, steals elements of the soul singer’s 1977 hit “Got to Give it Up”.
District Judge John A Kronstadt made the ruling after reviewing conflicting analyses by experts, hired by Thicke and Pharrell and by Gaye's children to evaluate the two songs.
Thicke and Williams had sought a ruling on Thursday that “Blurred Lines” did not infringe on copyrights to the Gaye song.
However, the judge determined there is a genuine dispute about whether several musical elements, including signature phrases, hooks, bass lines, keyboard chords and vocal melodies, are similar.
In his ruling, Kronstadt limited the analysis to be made by a jury to how the compositions appear on sheet music, not how “Blurred Lines” and “Got to Give it Up” sound to listeners.
A trial is scheduled for 10 February in Los Angeles.
The singers’ lawyer, Howard King, wrote in an email to the Associated Press that the ruling was not a surprise, and he was confident the entertainers would win at trial.
“Since the compositions at issue are completely different, we remain confident of prevailing at trial,” King wrote.
A representative for Gaye's children, Nona, Frankie and Marvin Gaye III, did not have an immediate comment on the ruling.
Last month Thicke claimed that he did not actually write “Blurred Lines”. According to court papers filed in connection with the lawsuit, the singer said he was high on painkillers and alcohol in 2013– and said he had exaggerated his contribution to the song.