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Why aren't there more lawsuits since "Blurred Lines"?

In my little corner of the music business, it is important to be thought of as a nice person. You never know who you're going to work with next, and being a good hang is often part of the gig.

I think this collegiality is the only thing stopping everyone in the music business from suing each other. Since the blurred lines verdict came down for Marvin Gaye, it seems that everybody can think of a laundry list of examples that should be litigated. And yet no one does it. At least not yet. Why not?

Ahmad Jamal and the Poinciana beat.Miles Davis doing Bye Bye Blackbird as a jazz tune. Who was the first person to do my funny Valentine has a funk tune, anyhow? We could name a hundred of these examples.

These are all arrangements that have been copied endlessly. And yet you don't see a line of lawsuits.

If Marvin Gaye's estate gets $7M for a cowbell pattern, what has stopped this thing from escalating out of control? My answer is that, in general, musicians see themselves as part of a musical community spanning the time and space. They don't want to pee in the pool, so to speak.

If only every line of work had this ethic.

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  • February 14, 2018
    Arsenal Center for the Arts ,  Watertown, MA
     
  • February 17, 2018
    Parish Center For the Arts ,  Westford, MA