Gaye family wins latest round in “Blurred Lines” battle

Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams have been denied a new trial in their battle with the family of late singer-songwriter Marvin Gaye over their 2013 hit “Blurred Lines”. Earlier this year a jury awarded Gaye’s children $7.4 million in compensation and damages for copyright infringement of Gaye’s 1977 hit “Got to Give it Up”.

Thicke and Williams argued that while the songs were written in the same style, they were musically distinct enough that the copyright of the previous song was not violated. In March, a Los Angeles jury disagreed and that decision was appealed. In the most recent decision the $7.4 million award was reduced to $5.3 million and the parties held responsible for the infringement have been expanded from Thicke and Williams to include rapper TI (Clifford Harris Jr.), who collaborated on the song, and the record labels involved in the distribution of the song, UMG Recordings, Interscope and Star Trak Entertainment.

Also as part of the decision, Gaye’s family will receive an ongoing royalty rate of 50% of songwriter and publishing revenues however their request for an injunction was denied.

This latest decision, rendered by United States District Court Judge John A. Kronstadt, is expected to be appealed and perhaps further clarity will be gained as to the difference between musical inspiration and infringement of a copyright.

The most recent decision in the case, Pharrell Williams, et al. v. Bridgeport Music, Inc., et al, can be found here:


AG&A handles the consultation on and registration of copyrights for further information, contact Pamela A. Mulligan, Esquire .

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