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“Blurred Lines” became a huge hit for producer Pharrell Williams and artist Robin Thicke. Not only was the song the biggest hit of Thicke’s career, it’s made over $17 million for the two and $750,000 for rapper T.I., who added a verse to the song.

But for some music experts and industry insiders, the so-called ‘homage’ to Marvin Gaye sounded like more than a tribute. It sounded like copyright infringement. Williams and Thicke preemptively sued the Gaye family to stop them for attempting to claim the song as Gaye’s.

On March 10, Thicke and Williams lost and the Gaye family was awarded $7.4 million.

“It could have been avoided, says Janis Gaye, Marvin Gaye’s ex-wife and mother of two of his three children, including singer/actress Nona Gaye.

 “If they had just come to us like Eric Sermon came to us, he played it for us. The song was called ‘Music’ great hit for him and we loved it. And he credited Marvin for the song which was so important to us. It was his idea. It was a given that Marvin would get credit because it was Marvin’s song.”

Janis says that when the family initially heard “Blurred Lines,” they were excited, because they believed that Gaye’s music was reaching a new generation through the popularity of the song.

“My first thought was here’s ‘Got to Give It Up’ in 2015. It had been given a new go-round. So we were really happy. My grandson heard it, he’s 17, and he was like ‘Wow, that’s Grandpa’s music.’ Nona, Marvin and Frankie heard it and we were all really happy until we found out that there was no [licensing], no nothing.”

Another Thicke song, “Million Dollar Baby” often mentioned as another example of Thicke’s use of Gaye’s work, was properly credited and licensed to Gaye. (Janis says the family is not pursuing any case over Williams’ hit song “Happy” which is another song some say contains elements of Gaye’s music.)

Contrary to popular belief, it is not the Gaye family that sued Williams and Thicke. Williams and Thicke took the Gaye family to court, so that a ruling would be made to determine that “Blurred Lines” had not significantly taken from “Got To Give It Up.”

“I had no idea that it was coming and we were baffled,” says Janis. “What are you suing us for? What did we do? So we had to retain counsel and luckily we got great attorneys.”

Surprisingly, Janis is not against sampling or artists using music to craft new songs. She just believes that if songs are used, they should be credited.

“I’m not going to say all of today’s musician are lazy,” says Janis. “It’s not like when we were coming up and things were more organic. I’m not going to put everyone in one boat.”

What would Marvin have thought of his music being jacked? Janis says had he been alive, things might have gotten a lot testier.

“I don’t think he’d be saying anything about it because it wouldn’t have happened. If he’d gone into a studio or picked up a phone, it wouldn’t have been nothing nice. He wouldn’t have stood for it,” Janis says. “He wouldn’t have stood for anyone taking his music and copying it.”

Williams and other musicians have bemoaned the “Blurred Lines” verdict as the end to creativity, believing most music is inspired directly or indirectly by other works. But Janis doesn’t believe that will be result of the favorable verdict. Since the trial, there’s been another positive byproduct for the family – sales of Gaye’s music have leaped $246% in the last month.

“I don’t think this is the end of the music business because of ‘Blurred Lines.’ God Bless all musicians.”

(Photo: Entertainment Tonight Screenshot)

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25 thoughts on “EXCLUSIVE: Janis Gaye: ‘Marvin Wouldn’t Have Stood For Anyone Stealing His Music’

  1. Darlene Smith on said:

    I am happy that Marvin Gayes family won. Nobody has the right to steal someone else’s music and use it as their own. I pray that they win every battle because they are Marvin Gayes voice and they are his legacy. God Bless the Gaye family.

  2. Let’s see how long they have this money. Janis is bitter and old. Half of the sales? That’s taking it too far. Something is shady about this entire verdict and I’m black.

    • How in the he|| do you call Janis greedy when Williams and Thick are the ones who sued the Gaye family? YOU are the one who sounds bitter, not Janis.

  3. That’s why there are copy right laws in place to keep people from stealing music, plays, books, and others ideas. For them to put a lawsuit out for on the Gaye family for stealing Marvin’s music was crazy

  4. Mac Ben on said:

    All money aint good money. These new jack songs are keeping folks like Gaye, Green, White, Brown and many more relevant. Face it, they don’t get widespread airplay anymore. Personally, Blurred Lines sounds nothing like Got to Give it Up. The melody and tempo are similar but the sound, lyrics and music are not. The judge must be tryna trick with Janice…

  5. U guys are greedy ,yes were happy about the money and looking for others to but really ,I think your dad would of been happy is music is out there .hungry hungry .it’s a shame ,didn’t have a dime before, still dont

    • Who ever you are, you and the person before you don’t know jack. I’m from the ’70s’ music generation and blurred lines most certainly is a product of Marvins’ music. The beat the sound and also lyrics made different but on the same feeling line as ‘got to give it up’. They knew exactly what they were doing. Why do you think they sued the Gaye family instead of the other way around. I’m glad they won. As for them never getting any money because of appeals, maybe not. The increased records sales of Marvins music will make up for it. Also, learn to spell. Oh, I doubt very seriously that they are broke, You, on the other hand, probably is another story.

  6. Lovely D on said:

    so true they are selfish and Marvin Gaye would have been glad that people in this days would use his music they dont know anything about music look at how fast nona was forgotten made one cd and she fell off the scene and his ex-wife maybe a drug addict or the family is one its sad how they did but in time they will pay for what they done and sometimes money can’t fix everything and want last long to a lot of selfish people Robin,Pharrell and T.I. did a good job on that song but it sounds nothing like Marvin Gaye song at all.

    • Are you crazy or what. I don’t have the words to describe someone who calls someone a drug addict without knowing them. Calling out Nona also. Learn to read before commenting. The article said Williams and Thicke sued them, not the other way around, forcing them to retain counsel. A mind is a terrible thing to waste.

  7. why yall madd tho???? who here wouldnt have done the samething if your song was sampled or better yet jacked without permission nor credit, big ups to the gaye fam-bam check that ass!!!!! 🙂 🙂

    • Arne Barnard on said:

      Kim, you still don’t get it because you’re NOT a musician, you’re just a casual listener and not able to forensically compare BLURRED LINES to GOT TO GIVE IT UP and realize that the two are DIFFERENT songs, even though on the “surface” they ” appear to be alike.

      That’s like mistaking New Zealand for Australia.

      • Angela on said:

        Well, apparently, Thicke and Williams thought that the two songs sounded similar. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have sued the family first. From the article: “Williams and Thicke took the Gaye family to court, so that a ruling would be made to determine that “Blurred Lines” had not significantly taken from “Got To Give It Up.”” No sympathy at all for those two.

  8. Etta Pepple on said:

    He might not have, but he would have been smarter than you idiots and handled it better. All of you are nothing but greedy lazy asses

  9. Why are they still tripping! This probably the most money they’ve gotten since the death of Marvin! THICKE AND WILLIAMS DID THEM A FAVOR STEALING THE MUSIC.

      • You don’t have a clue how they will use their money, and besides it is none of you bitter business.

  10. KDAVIS on said:

    Enough Already…I get it that the music was stolen, but going after T.I. and taking away the ability for a song that is not even on the charts right now is just stupid…Get the money and leave it be…I don’t think Marvin or any father would want you to continue using the money to pay greedy lawyers. So you won…Now leave it alone.

      • It’s over dear. The appeals court will come to the same verdict.
        Today’s artist have to realize that just because another artist is dead does not mean you can steal their music.

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