A legal battle that began in 2013 on whether or not Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams ripped off Marvin Gaye’s 1977 hit song “Got to Give It Up” in their song “Blurred Lines” has reached a final verdict.
According to CNN, California state judge John A. Kronstadt ruled in favor of the Gayes family and ordered the two artists to pay the estate an estimated $5 million due to copyright infringement.
This case has been in and out of the courts for quite a long time. The Gaye’s estate thought the case was settled back in 2015, but little did they realize that was just the beginning. In that year, Thicke and Williams were ordered to pay over $7 million to the family until the judge reduced the amount to $5.3 million. It wasn’t until 2016 when the two artists appealed the jury verdict.
At that time Thicke and Williams also received an overwhelming amount of support from over 200 musicians. These musicians, including the likes of Patrick Stump from Fall Out Boy, Jennifer Hudson, and Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo, legally voiced their support by attaching their names to a “amicus brief.” This brief pointed out that although they’re not directly involved in the lawsuit, the subject matter is of strong interest pertaining to the future of their careers. The brief argued that there should be a re-evaluation on whether a song is original, with inspiration, or copied with unlawful practices and a fear of potential situations arising in relation to legality and their income.
In March of this year, a federal appeals court upheld that verdict. And here the two artists are back, in the beginning, owing the estate roughly the same amount of money from the initial verdict. Thicke, Williams, and Williams’ More Water From Nazareth Published have been required to pay out $2.9 million in damages. In addition, Thicke will pay more than $1.7 million and Williams and his publishing company will pay out $357, 631 separately. The family will also be receiving 50% of the royalties for the 2013 song “Blurred Lines” as they move forward.
Photo Credit: Sharon Alagna