Not for nothing was this blog named after ‘Blurred Lines’…
You remember that Marvin Gaye ‘Got To Give It Up’-esque “vibe” and “feel” that cost Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke in excess of $5 million dollars? You know, despite the actual notation differences between the two compositions in question? Well, the projected chilling effect of this copyright lawsuit is truly leaking into the everyday workings of the music industry.
As reported by Pitchfork, an anonymous but “prominent” producer has made it known that some contracts served to remixers now include a clause in which they must declare that their work does not use “elements inspired from any third party recordings” (a la how Williams and Thicke took inspiration from Marvin Gaye).
This isn’t even the first sighting of one of these so called “inspired by” clauses; entertainment lawyers have stated that such phrases and agreements are indeed being utilised by major record labels. Caius Pawson, founder of Young Turks and A&R director for XL Recordings told Pitchfork: “We haven’t used them, but given the risk of litigation post-‘Blurred Lines’, I’m not surprised that they’re doing this.”
Whilst some lawyers view this new contractual phenomenon as nothing more than an ass-covering exercise rather than any seismic change to copyright law and regulation of inspiration and creativity, this is a clear after-effect of the ‘Blurred Lines’ verdict and it will be interesting to see if it continues to bleed from remixers contracts to those signed by primary artists and songwriters.
It seems that record labels are now preparing for the writ before they’ve even had the hit.