Marvin Gaye Family to get $7.3 Million from Pharrell, Robin Thicke
In a landmark decision for the music industry, a jury in Los Angeles ordered “Blurred Lines” songwriters Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams to pay $7.3 million to the family of Marvin Gaye for copyright infringement on Tuesday.
Gaye’s family had argued that the 2013 smash hit “Blurred Lines” copied their father’s 1977 song “Got to Give It Up” and sued Thicke, Williams and Clifford Harris Jr., aka T.I., whom all contested the infringement.
Overall, the Gaye family sought more than $25 million in damages.
Thicke and Williams denied copying the hit, and their lawyer said the ruling set a “horrible precedent”.
Gaye died in April 1984, leaving his children the copyright to his music.
His children – Nona, Frankie and Marvin Gaye III – sued Thicke and Williams in 2013. Nona wept as the verdict was read in court.
“Right now, I feel free,” Nona Gaye said after the verdict. “Free from … Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke’s chains and what they tried to keep on us and the lies that were told.”
The verdict could tarnish the legacy of Williams, a reliable hit-maker who has won Grammy Awards and appears on NBC’s music competition show The Voice.
An attorney for Thicke and Williams has said a decision in favour of Gaye’s heirs could have a chilling effect on musicians who try to emulate an era or another artist’s sound.
The Gayes’ lawyer branded Williams and Thicke liars who went beyond trying to emulate the sound of Gaye’s late-1970s music and copied the R&B legend’s hit Got to Give It Up outright.
“They fought this fight despite every odd being against them,” Busch said of the Gaye family outside court.
Thicke told jurors he didn’t write Blurred Lines, which Williams testified he crafted in about an hour in mid-2012.