The Crucible of Nona Gaye: How Corporate Music Just Destroyed Copyright Law


Form The Guardian:
"A jury awarded Marvin Gaye’s children nearly $7.4m on Tuesday after determining singers Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams copied their father’s music to create Blurred Lines, the biggest hit song of 2013. Marvin Gaye’s daughter Nona Gaye wept as the verdict was being read and was hugged by her attorney, Richard Busch. “Right now, I feel free,” Nona Gaye said after the verdict. “Free from ... Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke’s chains and what they tried to keep on us and the lies that were told.”"

I'll tell you what: if I was a voting member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, I would rally support for Nona Gaye and Richard Busch to win the award for Best Documentary: Short Subject. The acting and dramatics surrounding this three-ringed circus of legal proceedings deserve a standing ovation, at the very least. However, if I was a voting member of the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, I would rally support to file charges against Nona and her family for fraud and circumvention of long-standing statues that protect the rights of creators in the American Music Industry. Were I vindictive enough, I'd probably also hire a P.I. to see just how much money & influence this woman, and by that extension, all of the Gaye family, have invested into this fight for artistic "justice." I'd guarantee that it wouldn't take too long to realize just how much of a sham this entire process has been. What we'll never know is what the long-term negative effects will be as a result of that sham. That said, I'll expand upon what I do know, and what I think about it.

First, if you want a more comprehensive understanding of the whole story & court proceedings behind it, Click Here.

I suppose I have to preface my thoughts by saying first that like so many artists and creatives, I have the utmost respect and admiration for the music & legacy of Marvin Gaye. He was an incomparable musician and performer. In addition, his dedication later in his life to creating art that talked about issues like social justice, discrimination, and the plight of his people solidifies his place in history as someone who, in my opinion, represents the true essence of an artist. This is why I take such issue with these recent proceedings, and why I have a serious ethical problem with the machinations of Nona Gaye and the rest of her vengeful brood.

By allowing the Gaye family to profit from the success of a current Pop music collaboration, simply because the song they created SOUNDS like the groove of a Marvin Gaye record, without there being conclusive evidence to indicate the individuals involved actually plagiarized direct lyrics, melodic lines, or audio samples from “Got To Give It Up,” the courts have now set a very real precedent, with financial incentive, to not only hear ridiculous cases like this, but to rule them in favor of the plaintiff. This would, in effect, strip a newer writer, performer, or producer, from allowing prior musical influence to be a part of a creative venture, unless they were willing to seek out any & all possible sonic references and negotiate a deal with their originators - which is, by all standards and practices, impossible.

This pisses me off to no end because it proves what I’ve been saying for a long time now; namely, that the Capitalism behind this music industry is far more of a detriment to the concepts of art commerce than even the most magnanimous producer will admit. I am all for creative individuals being properly compensated for their work, it should go without saying. However, I am NOT a fan of artists’ families using the gifts of that artist to unfairly profit from their work. The same can be said of the Jacksons. If we are to be blunt about Marvin’s life, by the end of it, he was little more than a strung-out, bipolar drug addict with a psychological propensity towards violence and a wavering grasp on reality. Further, it should not fall to people like Robin Thicke or Pharrell Williams to compensate for the fact that Nona, Frankie, and Marvin Jr. had a father who never negotiated the means for the residual profit from his work to be redirected to them, or that he never created a proper living will & trust for his estate. Why should the music industry be responsible for his problems, his mistakes, or his poor legal prowess? And that’s with the knowledge that said industry is certainly responsible for pulling some dirty, underhanded BS concerning him during his lifetime. For more on that, as well as some insight into his personal problems, Click Here.

I watched Nona Gaye’s reaction to the ruling, and I almost cringed. Crocodile tears and black sunglasses to hide her inner glee for pulling a fast one on this business. OUR business. Making it seem as if she had no money of her own, or was clueless as to how she could be a successful & happy woman outside of this kind of outrageous litigation. What she should be is ashamed at her and her family’s behavior for tainting the legacy of the music of a man whose message was about fighting the very things she chose to represent with these allegations. And I’m sure there are folks out there who will try to tie this “victory” into things like the “Black Lives Matter” movement (I wouldn’t be surprised if Nona did, too); for all our sakes, I hope that after this, she takes her checks and sits down somewhere. The irrevocable damage this case has wrought upon the future of the music industry is something we’ll all have to live with for the rest of our artistic lives, while she gets to laugh, sorry, cry tears of joy all the way to the bank.

Oh, and Nona, darling, in case you were looking for a place to sit down after you make your deposits, I've found several. "Here, My Dear:"