The judge handling the "Blurred Lines" copyright dispute between Marvin Gaye's kids and Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams has changed his tune.
In a surprise reversal filed Wednesday, U.S. District Judge John Kronstadt said he made a mistake when he said Monday that the recording of Gaye's legendary song "Got To Give It Up" would be completely inadmissible at trial.
"This order represents a change from this earlier view based on the court's further (self-imposed) consideration of the proof required," he wrote in his new ruling.
Judge Kronstadt said that "upon reflecting further," he decided to modify his position and consider playing excerpts of Gaye's 1977 hit recording for jurors if they're "tailored to the allegedly protected content asserted by" Gaye's heirs.
"To avoid prejudice to (Thicke and Williams), these recordings would need to be edited to remove all unprotected elements such as percussion and backup vocals," Kronstadt wrote.
"Any potential prejudice to (Thicke and Williams) caused the by the airing of Gaye's voice, which is not protected, is something that could perhaps be addressed by a limiting instruction," he said.
Kronstadt said that if either side wants to play an edited sound recording at the upcoming trial scheduled to begin Feb. 10, they must submit the snippet to the court by Feb. 2 for consideration.
It was Monday that Kronstadt first told both parties that the original Motown recording of "Got To Give It Up" would be off limits in the multimillion dollar copyright infringement dispute.
Gaye's children, including son Marvin Gaye III, were upset by the initial ruling, arguing through their lawyer that Gaye's protected sheet music was best embodied by his sound recording.
The heirs remain adamant that Thicke and Williams illegally copied protected elements of "Got To Give It Up" when they wrote their wildly popular 2013 Grammy-nominated single "Blurred Lines."
After the judge's initial decision Monday, lawyers on both sides said it appeared the judge only would allow hired musicologists to come into court and play Gaye's song on a keyboard.
A lawyer for Williams and Thicke said that was the right decision because Motown owns the iconic voice recording and is not a party to the lawsuit.
"I love Marvin Gaye. My clients love Marvin Gaye. But this is not about his voice, his character, his charisma. The question is whether 'Blurred Lines' is a copy of what he wrote in the sheet music. And it's not," lawyer Howard E. King, who represents Thicke and Williams, told The News Tuesday.
"We've said for two years that there are not two consecutive notes of the same duration duplicated in either song. The notes, chords and key are different," King said.
"There's no disputing the songs are in the same genre. Everyone recognizes it's in the same genre, but it ends there. Marvin Gaye doesn't own the genre," he said.
A lawyer for Gaye's children pointed out that Thicke and Williams initiated the court battle when they filed their preemptive claim in August 2013 asking for protection.
"Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke started this lawsuit against the Gaye family, but then filed motions asking the court to prohibit the playing of Marvin Gaye's song, which prevents the jury from comparing the songs," lawyer Richard Busch said.
"We know of no similar case where this has occurred, and do not believe that a truly fair trial can take place if the jury cannot hear and compare both songs," he said.
Marvin is that dude …….