There is little doubt that when Robin Thicke and Pharrell asked listeners “What rhymes with hug me?” that lawsuit was not one of the words that came to mind, but unfortunately that’s what has become of the track.
Marvin Gaye’s estate has just won a copyright suit in response to the exceptionally successful Robin Thicke/Pharrell track “Blurred Lines.” The family has reportedly received a whopping 7.3 million in damages for the track which allegedly infringes on Gaye’s classic 1977 hit, “Got to Give It Up.”
The turmoil began in August of 2013 when Thicke filed a preemptive lawsuit which claimed that their single was “strikingly different” from Gaye’s, fearing that the Gaye family would attempt to sue.
Gaye’s former wife, Janis, told The New York Times, that she is “really grateful” for the jury’s decision. She also claims that she is simply seeking justice for her late husband. She was quoted as saying, “I hope people understand that this means Marvin deserves credit for what he did back in 1977.”
Richard Busch, the lawyer speaking on behalf of the family, noted, “I just want to let the readers know that we didn’t start this fight. They sued us, taking a declaration of non-infringement. They started this war and we just finished it.”
While Thicke had originally taken a great deal of credit for writing the smash hit, he later retracted his amount of involvement once the case began heating up. Thicke instead began insisting that Pharrell was responsible for the track, going as far as to say, “Pharrell had the beat and he wrote almost every single part of the song.” Thicke cited a crippling drug and alcohol addiction as his reasoning for overall lack of involvement. He stated, “To be honest, that’s the
only part where — I was high on Vicodin and alcohol when I showed up at the studio. So my recollection is when we made the song, I thought I wanted — I — I wanted to be more involved than I actually was.”
Thicke, Pharrell, and T.I. have issued the following statement:
“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.”
The eight-person jury clearly felt differently about the situation. As of this morning, March 11, The Gaye family is now attempting to halt the sales for the single until they “can reach an agreement with those guys on the other side about how future monies that are received will be shared,” says Busch. The attorney claims that they will be doing so in approximately one week.
This news comes in following a similar case of music copyright infringement in January involving the use of elements of Tom Petty’s “Won’t Back Down” and Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me.”