Too close for comfort? Pharrell and Robin Thicke vs. Marvin Gaye

On Tuesday, a jury awarded almost $7.4 million dollars to Marvin Gaye's family after it found Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams guilty of copyright infringement. As many of you are aware, Glenn used to be a disc jockey and knows a lot about music. This morning on radio, Glenn, Pat, and Stu decided to tackle the case themselves, listening to the different songs. One of Glenn's biggest arguments while listening to the songs was that while the production value was the same, the notes might not be. He said, "This is production value. Does it sound in the ear like that? Well, yes, but I can do a lot of things that sound like that, but it's not. The standard is, put the notes on paper."

In this case, it appears the jury disagreed with Glenn, Pat, Stu, and myself, awarding Marvin Gaye's family the almost $7.4 million. Why do you wonder is this case important to my life? Well, if the case was won based off of general production sound versus the actual plagarism of notes it could change the music industry. Any artist who was inspired by previous artists could inevitably get sued for having music that "sounds like" someone else's music. And honestly, with only so many chords, notes, keys, and rhythms available this could become a mess in the court system.

Stu hit the nail on the head when he mentioned how one cannot copyright a smell, "It's hard to quantify what it is. If it makes you feel that way, it smells kind of like that, it sounds kind of like that song. That's not a standard. That's not a legal standard to award $7.4 million to his family. I think this is wrong."

Hear what Glenn, Pat, and Stu have to say and then make your own decision. Do you think the songs are too close for comfort?

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Rough Transcript Below:

GLENN: Right. Very similar in style. When you listen to it and you say, wow, that sounds like Marvin Gaye. It's because, listen to the -- play the new song. Pharrell.

PAT: Yeah, the "Blurred Lines"?

GLENN: Yeah. Pharrell. Whatever. The beat. And the strong bass line. And the people going by. Hey, hey, hey. Okay. Yes, that does sound like Marvin Gaye, but it's more production value than notes.

STU: Right.

[Music playing]

GLENN: Listen to this. Play that again. Play that again. Play it from the beginning. Okay, so I could say, listen to this, doesn't this sound like -- this sounds like Marvin Gaye. Right?

Now, listen to when they start singing.

PAT: Okay.

[Music playing]

GLENN: Oh, my gosh. They're ripping Prince off.

PAT: It does sound like Prince.

GLENN: So why can't Prince sue and say that sounds like a Prince song?

STU: That's ridiculous to me. You can't do that. It's supposed to be a mechanical measure of music that you can look at on a piece of paper. We've produced original music before. And I've sat in hours and hours with music rights attorneys trying to figure out if A is okay. B is okay. They bring in experts and look at sheet music.

GLENN: They don't listen. This is production value.

STU: Yeah.

GLENN: That's what this is. This is production value. Does it sound in the ear like that? Well, yes, but I can do a lot of things that sound like that, but it's not. The standard is, put the notes on paper. Are they -- and I don't remember what it is. But it's like X-number of notes for so many measures. And if there's X-number of notes that are similar in the first three -- in three measures, then, you know, you're -- you're nailed. Something like that.

STU: Yeah. This is why they say you can't copyright a smell for like a scent if you're doing a perfume. You can't copyright a smell. There's so many smell-alike perfumes out there. A smell. It's hard to quantify what it is. If it makes you feel that way, it smells kind of like that, it sounds kind of like that song. That's not a standard. That's not a legal standard to award $7.4 million to his family. I think this is wrong.

GLENN: I think it's wrong.

PAT: And hopefully they'll lose on appeal. Because this will screw things up if it happens.

GLENN: I'd like to line up the sheet music. I haven't seen it. If the sheet music, if it is indeed, sheet music-wise, if it's the same, well, then you have something.

PAT: Isn't the rule where, the structure figures into it too, but can't you do six notes that are similar, but you have to change the seventh? That's not exact.

GLENN: Something like that.

STU: I believe that was the Vanilla Ice defense that you're describing. Which is, he used to say that it was -- the David Bowie song. Yeah.

PAT: Yeah, it was Queen. David Bowie.

STU: But he said mine is (sound effect). Like, he added one little bass. It's not the same. They don't go that technical. Like, they don't get you on little tiny technicalities like that. When it's a general vibe of a song that sounds pretty similar, I mean, that's not supposed to be millions of dollars. A lot of people recorded a lot of freaking songs.

GLENN: But what's amazing, I was playing Rachmaninoff, and Pat came in the other day, and he's like, what? And he had forgotten that that was the basis of --

PAT: Oh, yeah. Eric Carmen's song. "All by Myself."

GLENN: All by myself [singing] is Rachmaninoff.

STU: Oh, really?

GLENN: Yeah, if I played -- I don't know if I can get sued for playing Rachmaninoff.

PAT: But he licensed it.

GLENN: It said at the bottom parenthetically from Rachmaninoff.

So I'm listening to this. This is classical piano music. The third or fifth piano concerto from Rachmaninoff. I'm listening to it. And he walks in and says, this is Eric Carmen. And I'm like, yeah, it's actually Rachmaninoff, but, yes. And that one sounds exact. It is exact. He actually took that from Rachmaninoff and made a popular song out of it. There's something to be said for -- I mean, how many combinations of notes are there? Something is always going to sound like --

STU: And remember a lot of the combinations of notes don't sound good. The chords. Like there's a certain amount of -- it makes this stuff ridiculous. And it's like -- and the rules are so bizarre. It's like weird Al can do exact to the note parodies because he's covered under parody law which is different from what they're doing. If they were singing that song and making fun of something, they could theoretically be covered.

GLENN: Theoretically.

On the morning of Aug. 15, Asma was a free woman in Kabul. She wore Western clothes. Traveled safely alone. Attended college in a neighboring country with the money her parents had saved. By that evening, her entire world had changed.

For the first time in her life, Asma was confronted with the reality of the Taliban. The horror stories she heard growing up were no longer the nightmare of her parents' generation. They were hers, too. Faced with the impossible decision to stay with her family and risk imminent torture or death, she chose to live, and take on the Taliban face-to-face.

Asma's bravery also led to the rescue of over 150 Afghan college women. She tells Glenn she was willing to die before she let the Taliban take her or the other women. But she didn't do it alone. Her sister Azada, helplessly watching the horror unfold from the U.S., quickly turned to her father's contact list. What follows is a miracle evacuation story that ends with a sisters' reunion and hope for a new future. These brave Afghan sisters have a message for those in their home country still trapped, for the leaders of this country, and for the men and women in uniform (and their families) who may believe the American sacrifices for Afghanistan were in vain.

Finally, a note about the other heroes in the rescue story. The movement of the seven buses of college women into the Kabul airport was a chain with about 8-10 links. Had any one of those links not been present or broken, the young women would not have made it into the airport for evacuation, and three young women taken by the Taliban would not have been recovered.

Glenn and his team would like to give a special thanks to Francisco from Arcis International, Wade and Jim from Commercial Task Force, Blaine from E3 Ranch Foundation, Michael and his crew from Kam Air, No One Left Behind, Samaritan's Purse, and Charmaine, Chris, Geno, John, Lori, Rob, Rudy & the Ground Team from The Nazarene Fund.

Watch the full episode of "Glenn TV" below:

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"My rights are not up for discussion," Malice told Glenn. He explained why his version of America will save America, and why, in spite of anxious talk of "national divorce," he has so much hope for the future.

Watch the video clip below or find the full episode of "The Glenn Beck Podcast" here:


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Watch the video clip below:

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