Unless you live on the Planet of Mars, you've probably heard of the Blurred Lines Case Ruling.
When a song is this successful it's natural to assume that someone is going to sue to get portions of the proceeds if the song uses a sample or uses an exact riff or musical phrase from someone else's musical composition. What's interesting to me is that even though supposedly no samples were used, and no direct parts are exactly the same, Pharrell and Thicke decided to Sue the Gaye estate pre-emptively in order to secure an order from the courts that there was no connection between Gaye's song "Got to Give It Up" and their new song "Blurred Lines". Perhaps this is what created the ultimate doubt in the Jury's mind to find for the Gaye family, but ultimately this is exactly what happened. At this point Gaye is listed as a co-author of the song on the wikipedia page for the song (yes, it has a wikipedia page even), and they are halting sales until future monetary situations are arranged.
So what really is going on here? And how does this affect the Surf Music Community in General? Well lets just say that the very foundation of the Surf Music Community stresses the inspiration, similarity and "Style" of the young people that started the Genre in the 60's. Even as new genres are embraced and integrated into the new songs of instrumental Surf Rock bands of today, there are still elements of the music, the Sound, the construction of the songs, that harkens back to the original songs written by the First Wave musicians in the original groups that comprised the Surf Bands of the early 60's. So if all of the Surf Songs from all of the various revivals are "In the Style Of" and use basic elements of that first wave, why are there not tons of lawsuits? It could certainly be that there is no point in sueing someone or something when money is not really a factor, of course! But that sidelines the main point, which is that music has never been created in a vacuum, so how is it legitimate to sue someone who stole your idea, if the person you stole your idea from never sued you? I would suggest there is no end to this madness!
To me the Surf Music Genre has and always will be about "In the Style Of" the classics. It's what holds the community together and gives us a common bond that unites us in the joy of listening to the classics, and then listening to the wonderful and awesome music that it has inspired over the years. It seems to me that back when the music was first created, most bands played each others songs, something that I very much miss seeing in the Surf Music Community in general these days. Perhaps it is this fear of copyright infringement that is stifling this type of musical cross-pollenation, and if so I for one find that unfortunate, I think the United States has always been a petrie dish experiment for law and in particular Intellectual Property law, but this latest ruling speaks volumes about where we're at with law in the music industry in this day and age. The ridiculousness to think that a musician can create music without being inspired by anything or anyone that came before it is so ludicrous to just be outright dismissible by anyone with a thinking brain. Granted when millions of dollars are at stake, things change, but I for one hope that this latest ruling does not hamper anyone's creativity going forward. To me, "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery", and hopefully always will be in the Surf Community. Besides, isn't our National Anthem just a British pub song? Ridiculous!