But now, Thicke has launched legal action against Gaye's family and a company that owns songs by band Funkadelic to shield "Blurred Lines" from legal copyright actions.
The suit was filed Friday in California federal court on behalf of Thicke, T.I. and producer/co-songwriter Pharrell Williams. The action is intended to protect them as the Gayes and Bridgeport Music continue to threaten legal action if they don't get a financial settlement over claims that "Blurred Lines" is too similar to Gaye's "Got to Give It Up" and Funkadelic's "Sexy Ways."
Thicke has spoken in multiple interviews about his love of the Gaye song and the suit claims that the Gaye family is alleging that "Lines" has the same "feel" and "sound" as "Give It Up" and that the Gaye estate is claiming ownership of "an entire genre, as opposed to a specific work."
"But there are no similarities between plaintiffs' composition and those the claimants allege they own, other than commonplace musical elements," the lawsuit reads. "Plaintiffs created a hit and did it without copying anyone else's composition."
Critics have said that "Blurred Lines" is "influenced heavily" by Gaye’s “Got to Give It Up,” but the lawsuit makes the point that "being reminiscent of a 'sound' is not copyright infringement. The intent in producing 'Blurred Lines' was to evoke an era."
The suit also said that Gaye's heirs wrongfully claim they own "an entire genre" of music.
George Clinton, who once led Funkadelic, has long feuded with Bridgeport Music over the band's songs. He tweeted his support for Thicke last week.