Blurred Lines and Marvin Gaye: Robin Thicke really did have it coming

He might have been able to encourage rape and get away with it, but it's nice to know that not all of the singer's moral lapses have gone unchecked

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The Independent Online

After hearing about the suspension of Jeremy Clarkson on Tuesday, I thought to myself, could this day get any better? And then, it did.

Robin Thicke, the weaselly face of the rape anthem "Blurred Lines", along with his co-star Pharrell Williams, lost their case against Marvin Gaye’s family – who accused them of copying their father’s music in creating the song.

The musicians have been ordered to pay $7.4m to the estate of Marvin Gaye, and let me tell you, a copyright-related court order has never been so sweet.

But aside from Thicke and Williams being forced to pay the price for plagiarism, what does it all mean? Does it mean anything? Is a change gonna come? (Apologies to Sam Cooke’s estate, there’s a tenner in the post to you I swear).

It’s a good sign isn’t it? It might only be for plagiarism, but the men who have plagued headlines over the past few years for their abysmal behaviour are finally being held to account.

When "Blurred Lines" was released it was instantly derided. It was a song that appeared to encourage men to ignore the "blurred lines" of sexual consent. It was banned from several universities and ripped apart online. But Thicke made $5.5m from the song, and went on to be a prominent figure of the celebrity circuit for a while – even if it was just for being a sleaze.


If I wrote an article that was an ode to having sex with people against their consent, I’m pretty sure I would be given a stern talking to by my editor, if not struck off completely. And yet somehow, guys like Thicke and Pharrell keep being given second and third chances.

Damages for plagiarism obviously don't address the awful, rape-condoning lyrics – so why am I so happy? Probably because no matter how much people like me criticised Thicke for "Blurred Lines", there was no real consequences for him as a result.

It’s not illegal to write or perform such an awful song, and there’s no hard or fast punishment either for doing so. Students might be able to ban it in their union bars, but there isn’t a prison where rape anthem songs go to die.

So it’s good that we can finally take solace in knowing that some of Williams and Thicke‘s "hard earned" cash will be leaving those deep, probably unwashed, pockets as collateral, even if it’s for musical theft rather than endorsing rape.