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Exclusive: Will Music Infringement Lawsuits Become Excessive?

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Just one week after a jury ruled that Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke’s megahit “Blurred Lines” infringed on Marvin Gaye’s 1977 classic, “Got to Give It Up,” Williams is opening up about the ruling.

“The verdict handicaps any creator out there who is making something that might be inspired by something else,” he told the Financial Times. “This applies to fashion, music, design … anything. If we lose our freedom to be inspired we’re going to look up one day and the entertainment industry as we know it will be frozen in litigation. This is about protecting the intellectual rights of people who have ideas.”

Following the major win of Gaye’s estate, Jermaine Dupri came forward claiming that Ciara’s new track “I Bet” is a “complete rip-off of Usher’s ‘U Got It Bad.’” Tom Petty also recently claimed that Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me” was similar to his hit track “Won’t Back Down;” in which Smith agreed to give Petty writing credit and royalties.

Considering the recent string of infringement cases, Pharrell raises the question best: Will the entertainment industry as we know it “be frozen in litigation?” HipHollywood caught up with attorney Mitra Ahouraian of Ahouraian Law to help shed some light from a legal perspective.

“The copyright infringement cases are question of fact that’s decided by a jury. That doesn’t create law. Decisions from a judge create law,” Ahouraian explained. “So from a legal standpoint because they are decided on a case by case basis we don’t really have so much of a concern in reality.”

She added, “The influence versus the actual infringement comes down to how similar the two [songs] are. Again, how similar the two are are not only what sounds similar to us as people who aren’t necessarily musicians, but also the expert of musicologists and the likelihood that two people came up with a very similar song or very similar piece of art.”

There are now new reports claiming that the Gaye family, who was awarded over $7 million in the case, is now planning on blocking the sales and distribution of the song.

EXCLUSIVES

What ‘Geostorm’s’ Gerard Butler & Abbie Cornish Wish They Could Control Via Satellite

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One of the many taglines for the new drama, Geostorm, is simply: “Some things weren’t meant to be controlled.”

The film follows a team comprised of world leaders that have one goal in mind: to save the world from natural disasters with the creation of Dutch Boy, a series of satellite grids that control weather and natural disasters around the world.

And while the movie is flooded with action and stellar performances, the film ironically rivals recent natural disasters and crises around the world, and welcomes a bigger conversation. “That’s the genus behind the movie,” the film’s star, Gerard Butler, told HipHollywood. “But nobody knew how acutely it was going to be happening when the movie came out.”

He added, “It’s fun, it’s epic, it’s exciting, but at its core, it’s like, listen, ‘We gotta be careful. We gotta be really careful.”

Co-star Jim Sturgess added. “There is this sort of backbone, a message about climate change, and you kind of hope that audience members leave with that somewhere in the consciousness.”

With the idea, however, that a large unit could control the world’s natural weather patterns, imagine if the same could apply for people’s personal lives.

So when HipHollywood sat down with the cast of the film, we asked: If you could have a grid of satellites over your personal life, what would it control?

For Abbie Cornish, she “wouldn’t mind a satellite that could bring all the local organic seasonal fruits and vegetables to my house ” or “a satellite to drop down fresh flowers.” Jim Sturgess suggested he would love help with “being late for things.”

But it was Butler who suggested “integration.”

He explained, “As opposed to having different satellites and saying, ‘Here’s one for my personal life, here’s one for my relationships, here’s one for my career; I’d rather just have one big satellite, combine them all together, and just shine a whole bunch of positive inspirational light on me as a whole.”

Geostorm hits theaters on Friday, October 20.

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