'Blurred Lines' copyright suit ends: Robin Thicke, Pharrell Williams to pay $5 million
The lengthy legal battle over Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams’ “Blurred Lines” finally came to an end this week with a payday for the Marvin Gaye family.
The copyright lawsuit was settled on Monday when California Judge John A. Kronstadt entered a judgement of approximately $5 million against Thicke and Williams.
According to Billboard, it all comes out to $4,983,766.85: $2,848,846.50 comes from Thicke, Williams, and Williams’ More Water From Nazareth Publishing Inc., $1,768,191.88 comes from just Thicke, and an additional $357,630.96 comes from Williams and his publishing company.
The Gayes are also entitled to half of all the royalties “Blurred Lines” accrues in the future.
Reps for Thicke and Williams could not be reached for comment.
The suit began in 2013 when Gaye’s family claimed “Blurred Lines” copied “Got to Give It Up,” Gaye’s 1977 hit song. Thicke sued for pre-emptive copyright protection, but the family won their case in 2015. Thicke and Williams made an appeal, but this past March a judge upheld the initial verdict and Judge Kronstadt confirmed the settlement this week.
Many disagreed with the verdict since “Blurred Lines” and “Got to Give It Up” were only similar in feel and genre. According to the original suit, “the Gaye defendants are claiming ownership of an entire genre, as opposed to a specific work.”
As the BBC reported, the appeals court was also split. Circuit Judge Jacqueline Nguyen, one of three appeal judges, dissented the ruling in stating the songs “differed in melody, harmony and rhythm.” She further wrote the decision “strikes a devastating blow to future musicians and composers everywhere.”
In March, Frankie and Nona Gaye, two of the late singer’s children, called it “a victory for the rights of all musicians.”