"Blurred Lines" verdict could harm local music industry

It's a question of infringement between two songs.

A federal jury found Tuesday that hit song "Blurred Lines" infringed on the Marvin Gaye chart-topper "Got to Give It Up."

Now this could ripple across the music industry.

"You know there's a history of rap music licks for forever. For a long time there, it wasn't regulated. I mean they could just use whatever and people loved those records and great music came out of that," says Mary Jurey, general manager, Playing in Traffic Records.

Local entertainment lawyer Buck McKinney handles all types of copyright cases; from visual arts, to literature to music.

He says it's pretty common in Austin but will be even more so now because of the verdict in this case.

"Virtually anything could be copyrightable if it has enough original expression within the elements. If you took a standard drum beat, it's probably not copyrightable. If it was a pretty unique percussive track that was on the Marvin Gaye song, then I think a lot of people would agree that the two rhythm tracks sounded very similar," says Buck McKinney, entertainment lawyer, Law Office of Buck McKinney.

This isn't the only famous lawsuit in the history of the music industry, some date back to the 1960's and 70s.

"There's a famous case that came out twenty years or so ago, George Harrison, 'My Sweet Lord.' It was pretty well vetted in the case that he had no idea he was borrowing it from another song but the court came out and said, 'it doesn't take intent; you can accidentally do it and still be liable for copyright infringements,'" says McKinney.

That ruling later left the artist too paranoid to write songs for quite some time.

Local record label, Playing for Traffic, says this is exactly what they don't want to happen.

"I wouldn't want to stop my artists from wanting to be creative and want to pull or use anything that they have in their history or in their past that they want to use to create," says Jurey.

Mary Jurey was surprised with the verdict in the 'Blurred Lines' case.

She finds nothing but positives from the 2013 hit song.

"It's great to see a song be that popular. The music industry is really struggling and you know, people talk about how down it's been. To see people really loving a song and really interested in it, I mean all of that's good. It even brings exposure to Marvin Gaye," says Jurey.

Many music experts hope this case will get appealed so the industry won't be changed.

A jury awarded Marvin Gaye's children nearly $7.4 million in the "Blurred Lines" case.

If you want to support some of our local artists, record label Playing in Traffic is holding a free event this Thursday at Whole Foods on 6th and Lamar.

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