Perhaps you’ve dreamed your whole bitter lawyer life about landing a big fish sort of client. A Fortune 500 company, a baseball player, a celebrity, whatever. Someone that you could just slyly mention at your next hellacious networking event that you’ve been doing a little work for [fill in insanely famous person/company here] and everyone would choke on their crappy buffet appetizers because they’d be so jealous of you.
Be careful what you wish for, because you might end up representing Robin Thicke, who will show up at a deposition and basically explain that he was far, far too high to have stolen a song from Marvin Gaye when he wrote last summer’s mega-hit, “Blurred Lines.”
Some background: “Blurred Lines,” according to some people, sounds like Thicke and his co-songwriter, Pharrell Williams, stole a chunk of Marvin Gaye’s “Got To Give It Up.” It likely didn’t help matters any that Thicke did approximately one million interviews where he explained that he and Pharrell wrote “Blurred Lines” in an hour after Thicke said he wanted to do a song like “Got To Give It Up.”
After people began noticing that the songs sounded similar, Thicke and Pharrell filed a lawsuit seeking a declaratory judgment that “Blurred Lines” was not pilfered from Gaye. Counterclaims were filed by the estate of Marvin Gaye, audio mashups of the two songs played together have been admitted into evidence, and completely insane depositions have been taken.
From the deposition itself:
“Q: Were you present during the creation of ‘Blurred Lines’?
Thicke: I was present. Obviously, I sang it. I had to be there.
Q: When the rhythm track was being created, were you there with Pharrell?
Thicke: To be honest, that’s the only part where — I was high on Vicodin and alcohol when I showed up at the studio. So my recollection is when we made the song, I thought I wanted — I — I wanted to be more involved than I actually was by the time, nine months later, it became a huge hit and I wanted credit. So I started kind of convincing myself that I was a little more part of it than I was and I — because I didn’t want him — I wanted some credit for this big hit. But the reality is, is that Pharrell had the beat and he wrote almost every single part of the song.”
Let’s walk through this defense, Robin Thicke. You lied and, in approximately one million interviews, said you wrote the song, but you didn’t actually write the song, because you were too high, but then you filed a lawsuit explaining your songs weren’t similar, but just in case they are similar, it is totally not your fault, because you were high. Oh, and then you threw your co-songwriter under the bus.
It gets weirder. At one point, Thicke proudly declares “I also embellish on many other subjects publicly,” which sort of sounds like the opposite of both a good defense and a good character. He also explains that he was high or drunk for every interview he gave, but he is now sober, but he still drinks. And when they make him listen to the audio mashup of his song and Gaye’s ditty, he pretty much loses it.
For example, when Richard Busch, attorney for the Gayes, attempted to play the mash-up for Thicke to hear, the singer begged him to stop. “It’s so hard to listen to it,” said Thicke, referencing a clash between major and minor chords. “It’s like nails on a f—ing chalkboard. … This is [like] Stanley Kubrick’s movie Clockwork Orange. Where he has to sit there and watch … Mozart would be rolling in his grave right now.”
This goes on for several pages until Thicke declares that listening to the music is “like being attacked with knives and swords.” His tender, tender ears.
Pro-tip for aspiring lawyers who one day wish to represent celebrities: CONTROL YOUR CELEBRITY. Did we learn nothing from the videotaped Justin Bieber deposition?