‘Blurred Lines’ stars ordered to pay Marvin Gaye heirs

Updated 11 March 2015
0

‘Blurred Lines’ stars ordered to pay Marvin Gaye heirs

LOS ANGELES: A US jury on Tuesday ordered pop stars Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams to pay more than $7 million in damages to Marvin Gaye’s family, ruling the pair copied his music in writing their 2013 mega-hit “Blurred Lines.”
The eight-member California panel, which had been deliberating since last week, found that the pop stars lifted parts of Gaye’s 1977 hit “Got to Give It Up.”
“I’m so filled with emotion that it’s hard to get the words out,” said Gaye’s daughter Nona, hailing the “miracle” verdict.
The family took legal action “because he (Marvin) can’t do it for himself,” she added.
Gaye family lawyer Richard Busch said he plans to seek an injunction blocking future sales of “Blurred Lines,” which was a worldwide hit.
Neither Williams nor Thicke, who had both testified during the trial, were in court to hear the verdict.
But a spokeswoman for Williams said: “While we respect the judicial process, we are extremely disappointed in the ruling made today, which sets a horrible precedent for music and creativity going forward.
“Pharrell created ‘Blurred Lines’ from his heart, mind and soul, and the song was not taken from anyone or anywhere else. We are reviewing the decision and considering our options,” she added in a statement.
The Gaye heirs had sought a portion of the nearly $16.5 million in profits that the hit party song has reaped since its release two years ago.
The jury awarded about $4 million in damages, plus roughly $3.4 million in profits.
Evidence presented in court suggested that Thicke and Williams each earned more than $5 million from the success of the record.
“Blurred Lines” was the biggest-selling song of 2013 in the United States, selling a total of 6.5 million copies, according to Billboard.
During the two-week trial, Williams said he understood why fans connected the two songs, but explained: “Soul music sounds like soul music... I must’ve been channeling that late ‘70s feeling.”
The Gaye estate had said that “Blurred Lines” copied elements of the 1970s track. The two sides brought in music experts who dissected the structures of the two songs to debate the merits of the claim.
The jury cleared rapper Clifford “T.I.” Harris Jr. — who collaborated with the pair on the song, and made more than $700,000 from it — of any wrongdoing.
At the time the Gaye song was copyrighted, only written music — not sound recordings — could be registered with the copyright office.
Although jurors saw the “Blurred Lines” video and heard the song, they were told to only consider the chords, melodies and lyrics of the songs, rather than production elements.
The federal lawsuit was originally filed two years ago by the “Blurred Lines” stars as a preemptive legal strike to protect the song from claims that it was derived from the decades-old Gaye hit.
The Gaye family filed counterclaims alleging that Thicke’s fascination with the soul icon led to the misappropriation of his work in “Blurred Lines” and in the title track of Thicke’s 2011 album “Love After War.”


The ethical gold rush: Gilded age for guilt-free jewelry

Updated 21 April 2019
0

The ethical gold rush: Gilded age for guilt-free jewelry

  • Specialized producers now tack a “fairmined” ecologically friendly label on their output
  • Swiss house Chopard last year became the first big name to commit to “100 percent ethical” creations

PARIS: Forget how many carats — how ethical is your gold? As high-end consumers demand to know the origin of their treasures, some jewellers are ensuring they use responsibly sourced, eco-friendly or recycled gold.
Specialized producers now tack a “fairmined” ecologically friendly label on their output, and the Swiss house Chopard last year became the first big name to commit to “100 percent ethical” creations.
The Geneva-based firm, which makes the Palme d’Or trophy for the Cannes Film Festival, says it now uses only verified suppliers of gold that meet strict standards to minimize negative environmental impacts of mining the precious metal.
Among the many certificates and standards claiming to codify “responsible” goldmining, two labels stand out.
They are “fairmined” gold — a label certified by a Colombian NGO — and the more widely known “fairtrade” label launched by Swiss foundation Max Havelaar.
Both support artisanal mines that seek to preserve the environment in terms of extraction methods, along with decent working conditions and wages for the miners.
Such production remains limited — just a few hundred kilograms annually. Global gold output by comparison totals around 3,300 tons.
Concerned jewellers are keen to ensure they can trace the source of their entire supply to an ethical production cycle and to firms certified by the not-for-profit Responsible Jewellery Council, which has developed norms for the entire supply chain.
RJC members must adhere to tough standards governing ethical, human rights, social and environmental practices across the precious metals industry.
The French luxury group Kering, which says it has bought more than 3.5 tons of “responsibly produced” gold since 2015 for its Boucheron, Pomellato, Dodo and Gucci brands, has committed to 100 percent use of “ethical” gold by 2020.
“We are trying to maximize the proportion of Fairmined and Fairtrade gold — but their modest production is in great demand so the bulk of our sourcing remains recycled gold, (which is) certified ‘RJC Chain of Custody’,” says Claire Piroddi, sustainability manager for Kering’s jewelry and watches.
Fairmined or Fairtrade gold is “about 10 to 12 percent more expensive. But recycled gold barely generates any additional cost premium,” Piroddi told AFP, since it was already refined for a previous life in the form of jewelry or part of a high-tech product.
Going a step further, using only precious metal from electronic or industrial waste is an original idea developed by Courbet, a brand launched just last spring.
“We do not want to promote mining extraction or use recently extracted gold, so we sought suppliers who recycle gold used in graphics cards or computer processors. That’s because we know today that more than half of gold’s available reserves have already been extracted,” says Marie-Ann Wachtmeister, Courbet’s co-founder and artistic director.
She says the brand’s watchwords are ethical and environmental consciousness.
“In a mine, a ton of terrain might contain five grams of gold, whereas a ton of electronic waste might generate 200 grams,” Wachtmeister says.
“Clients are also demanding an ecological approach more and more — they are aware of their day-to-day impact and consider the origin of what they wear,” she adds.
“The issue of supply really resonates with the public at large,” adds Thierry Lemaire, director general of Ponce, a jewelry firm that was established in Paris’s fashionable Marais district in 1886.
The company is RJC-certified and uses only recycled gold.
“There is a logic to that — if we want to do our work well, then let’s go the whole hog and respect nature. That can be done today because the entire chain has become standardised.
“Studios such as ours that work for major names on Place Vendome are all certified,” Lemaire says, referring to an upscale square in Paris.
He represents the fifth generation of family firm Ponce, which produces 45,000 gold rings a year from recycled gold.
Working in a pungent atmosphere of heated metal, refiners sit hunched over polishing machines, a large leather hide slung over their knees to catch the tiniest shaving.
“Every Friday, we have a great clearout and go over the workshop with a fine-tooth comb to pick up little bits of (gold) dust and shavings,” Lemaire says.
“Nothing is lost, it’s a truly virtuous chain.”