Some of my readers who keep up with Robin Thicke will remember that he was sued by the heirs of Marvin Gaye. After all the controversy about “Blurred Lines” similarity to Marvin Gaye's “Got to Give It Up,” the jury in the copyright case between Mr. Gaye's heirs and defendants Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams ruled in the heirs' favor, to the tune of $7,300,000. Indeed, the defendants had to give it up!
In a time when the meaning and practices of cherished American rights and freedoms are before us in the news every day, there is a right and freedom in Article 1 of the Constitution that has been consistently overlooked. Since 1790, every person living in the United States of America has had the right and freedom to create property for themselves that he or she can own, control, and make a living from. That property is called intellectual property. If you are a musician, the key intellectual property for you to know about is copyright.
As I write this, it is still the first week of September in 2019. I live and work in San Francisco, CA, thought to be one of the most tolerant cities in the United States.
One of the most frightening things for musicians putting their music out in the world is… well… putting music out into a world full of people, some of whom are of the mind that music should be free for everyone to use without a thought of paying the musicians who create the music.