Pharrell and Robin Thicke Lose Appeal in “Blurred Lines” Lawsuit to Marvin Gaye’s Estate
Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke are going to have to officially pay up after a court ruled in favor of Marvin Gaye's estate for their copyright infringement lawsuit regarding the 2013 hit record, "Blurred Lines."
The 2015 guilty verdict against Williams and Thicke for infringing Gaye's 1977 record, "Got to Give It Up" for their own song was upheld by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday (March 21). According to Forbes, the estate of the late singer is now officially entitled to 50% of all royalties from "Blurred Lines" forever.
The court also ruled that T.I., who is featured on the record, is not liable for damages, clearing him of any involvement in the lawsuit.
The news follows the original ruling from 2015 where a judge found the producer and singer guilty of copyright infringement for its similarities to the 1977 classic. At the time, they were ordered to pay Gaye's estate $7.3 million, as well as fork over 50 percent of all songwriting and publishing revenues. Later in August 2016, Pharrell, Robin and T.I. filed an appeal against the verdict with the Ninth Circuit Court, but the latest ruling upholds the original, leaving both hitmakers to pay up.
Originally, the "Happy" producer disagreed with any infringement within the song, stating that an artist "can't own feelings" and "can't own emotions." During the opening statements from Williams' and Thicke's lawyers during the trial, they stated their belief that a guilty verdict would "chill musical creativity and inhibit the process by which later artists draw inspiration from earlier artists to create new popular music."
This new ruling is somewhat of a watershed moment for copyright law, officially making it illegal to copyright a musical style, rather than just words and beats. Artists and producers in the future will no doubt learn from this case when creating new music.
Check out both songs again below to hear the similarities and differences.
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