Pharrell, Robin Thicke ordered to pay millions in Blurred Lines lawsuit

Following more than a year of legal back-and-forth, Marvin Gaye’s estate has won a US$7.3 million judgment over Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke’s global #1 Blurred Lines.

After a week long trial, a California federal jury of five women and three men has today ruled that Thicke did in fact rip off Gaye’s 1977 track Got To Give It Up.

Gaye’s estate and publisher Bridgeport Music initially sought $25 million in damages citing costs from the publisher (Gaye’s songs are published by the now Sony/ATV-owned EMI and Sony ATV manages Thicke’s music), from Universal Music’s estimated $6.9m overhead, and profits from the track.

Before the initial suit, in 2013 Robin Thicke brought a pre-emptive litigation against the Marvin Gaye estate in response to the fast circling whispers of copyright breach. Of course, Gaye’s estate hit back and named Thicke and Funkadelic’s song Sexy Ways in a suit against Sony ATV. The estate claimed the publisher giant breached an obligation to protect the work of Gaye against such copyright infringement. Sony/ATV and Bridgeport Music reached a settlement in January 2014 for an undisclosed amount.

Blurred Lines hit #1 in 14 countries, including an eight-week reign at #1 on the ARIA chart. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the jury were told the track’s composers made close to $17m; of which, $5.6m went to Thicke, $5.2m went to Williams and about $700,000 went to T.I.

As the track’s main songwriter – in court he claimed he wrote “almost every single part of the song” – Williams also made $4.3m in publishing and $860,000 for his producer credit.

Read more in The Music Network here.

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