Main | Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Jury Orders Robin Thicke & Pharrell Williams To Pay $7.4M To Gaye Family

Via the Los Angeles Times:
A federal jury found Tuesday that the 2013 hit song "Blurred Lines" infringed on the Marvin Gaye chart-topper "Got to Give It Up," awarding nearly $7.4 million to Gaye's children. Jurors found against singer-songwriters Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke, but held harmless the record company and rapper T.I. The verdict capped a trial that lasted more than a week and focused on the similarities between the song and the legendary soul singer's 1977 hit. The jurors began deliberating Thursday afternoon. An attorney for the Gaye children, Richard Busch, said there were copied elements -- including the bass and keyboard line, the hook and a repeated theme -- in all but two bars of "Blurred Lines." Busch also repeatedly pointed to statements made by the credited writers of the song -- Thicke and Williams -- referencing the late Motown legend in interviews about their writing process. Thicke said in several interviews that he suggested to Williams that they write something like "Got to Give It Up," and Williams has said he was "trying to pretend" he was Gaye when he wrote it. Thicke, Williams and their attorneys brushed off the statements as casual remarks designed to sell a song -- and in Thicke's case, made under the influence while he was drunk and high.
Jurors were told that Blurred Lines earned more than $5M for both Thicke and Williams, $6M for the record company, and $8M for its publishers. Such details are rarely disclosed to the public. The single and its album reportedly cost $7M to record and market. Some industry observers believe that today's verdict will stifle the creative process of other musicians.

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