On Tuesday, March 10, a California Jury determined that Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams copied Marvin Gaye’s 1977 hit “Got to Give it Up” in writing their hit song “Blurred Lines,” awarding $7.36 million in damages to Gaye’s children.
Back in August of 2013, Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams filed a preemptive lawsuit to declare that their hit song “Blurred Lines” did not infringe on the copyright of Marvin Gaye’s “Got to Give it Up.” Ever since that point, the music world has been focused on the continuously entertaining path the litigation has taken. From drug abuse admissions to authorship denials, this case has been nearly as captivating and controversial as the song that spawned it. The jury verdict in favor of the Gaye family, claiming Pharrell and Thicke violated their copyright, appears just as controversial. The jury found Williams liable for $1.6 million and Thick liable for $1.7 million. The jury then added another $4 million in damages on top of that. Astoundingly, the jury found that T.I. and the record company owe nothing.
The $7.36 million award amounts to about one dollar for every copy of the song sold. As this award is only for the past profits on the song, the parties still need to deal with future earnings. The Gaye family has indicated it will seek an injunction to bar further sale and distribution of “Blurred Lines” unless an amicable distribution of future earnings can be determined. The artists, clearly dissatisfied with the ruling, stated this is “a horrible precedent for music and creativity going forward.” They released a statement indicating “[w]e are reviewing the decision, considering our options and you will hear more from us soon about this matter.”