UPDATED, Tuesday 5:41 p.m.: A spokesperson for Pharrell Williams called Tuesday’s “Blurred Lines” verdict a “horrible precedent for music and creativity.”
In a statement obtained by TheWrap, the spokesman said, “While we respect the judicial process, we are extremely disappointed in the ruling made today, which sets a horrible precedent for music and creativity going forward. Blurred Lines was created from the heart and minds of Pharrell, Robin and T.I. and not taken from anyone or anywhere else. We are reviewing the decision, considering our options and you will hear more from us soon about this matter.”
After two weeks in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, the “Blurred Lines” copyright infringement trial has finally come to an end. The eight member jury voted unanimously that Robin Thicke and song producer Pharrell Williams had infringed on the 1977 Marvin Gaye song “Got To Give It Up.”
The jury found that Thicke and Williams had borrowed heavily from the tune, but not rapper T.I, who was also named as a party in the suit. The eight jurors also determined that the infringement was not willful, but also not innocent.
The jury awarded the Gaye family $4 million in damages, with profits of more than $1,600,000 from Williams and more than $1,760,099 from Thicke. Statutory damages of $9,375 were assessed.
Overall, the Gayes were awarded just shy of $7.4 million. An audible gasp was heard in the courtroom as the verdict was read.
“We did not start this fight…
“We fought this fight with one arm tied behind our back,” Busch added, referring to the fact that the Gaye side was not allowed to play the recording of “Got To Give It Up” for jurors during the trial.
Busch added that he expects an appeal on the verdict, but believes that Thicke and Williams do not have a basis for appeal.
The Gayes plan to seek an injunction against “Blurred Lines.”
“Right now I feel free from
Gaye told TheWrap that she feels “vindicated,” adding that if her father were there, he’d be singing and dancing to “Got To Give It Up.”
Gaye’s son, Marvin Gaye III, said that it is a “wonderful day for artists and music.”
Howard King, attorney for Thicke and Williams, noted, “We are disappointed, but we know in our heart and soul that the song came from
Thicke initially filed a preemptive lawsuit against Gaye’s relatives in 2013, after the family claimed publicly that “Blurred Lines” copied the late R&B legend’s song. Gaye’s relatives subsequently filed a counterclaim against singer Thicke, producer Williams and
During the trial, it was revealed that “Blurred Lines” sales exceeded $16 million with Thicke and Williams having made over $5 million each;
The trial showed video of media interviews with Thicke and Williams saying they were inspired by Marvin Gaye and wanted to channel “Got To Give It Up” with “Blurred Lines.”
On the stand, however, Thicke stated that he was high on vodka and Vicodin during all of those interviews.
Williams testified that he only realized he had channeled the older single after having released “Blurred Lines.” He claimed any similarities were not pre-conceived.
Thicke also said on the stand that he has been referred to as “the white Marvin Gaye,” and he embellished his interviews once people started telling him that “Blurred Lines” was similar to “Got To Give It Up.”
None of the Gaye children took the stand. But Jan Gaye, Marvin’s ex-wife, and mother of Nona and Frankie and stepmother to Marvin III, testified that when she first heard “Blurred Lines” she liked it and was thankful that it was breathing new life into “Got To Give It Up,” to which she had contributed vocals and told the court was one of Marvin Gaye’s personal favorites.
She had initially tweeted a thank you to Williams and Thicke. However she said, on the stand, that at that time, she assumed “Blurred Lines” had been properly licensed from “Got To Give It Up.”
Gaye’s three children, Nona, Frankie and Marvin III also claimed that Thicke and his former wife Paula Patton, with whom he co-wrote the 2011 single “Love After War,” infringed upon Marvin Gaye’s 1976 song “After the Dance.”
The Gaye children own the copyright to the Marvin Gaye sheet music registered with the Copyright Office. The commercial sound recording of “Got To Give It Up” was determined by the judge to be inadmissible evidence and it was not played during the trial beyond modified versions which the judge allowed. “Blurred Lines,” however, was played in court several times.
During one unusual and lively day at the trial, Thicke used a keyboard to play a medley of songs by U2, Alphaville and The Beatles to show that you can use similar chords to create many different songs.
In closing arguments, each side accused the other of using distractions and confusion to detract from the real issues in the case. While the Gayes’ attorney said it was patently obvious to anyone who has heard “Blurred Lines” that it is a copy of “Got To Give It Up,” lawyers for the Thicke party said you can not copyright a groove or an era.
Tim Kenneally contributed to this report.