Judge puts final figure on ‘Blurred Lines’ damages close to $5m
The long-running lawsuit involving Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams reached the final post this week when a Californian federal judge decided that the two performers had to pay close to $5 million in damages to the Marvin Gaye family.
The actual figure was $4,983,766.85.
According to Billboard, Judge John A. Kronstadt broke down the figures:
Thicke, Williams and Williams’ More Water From Nazareth Publishing Inc: $2,848,846.50.
Thicke: a further $1,768,191.88.
Williams and his publishing company: another $357,630.96.
For being “heavily inspired” by Gaye’s 1977 hit “Got to Give It Up”, Thicke and Williams will be sharing future recording and publishing royalties with the family.
The “Blurred Lines” case has aroused much interest from the artistic and legal communities on when “inspiration” and “homage” ends and “theft” begins.
In this case, as Thicke recalled to GQ magazine on the 2012 session, “Pharrell and I were in the studio and …I was like, ‘Damn, we should make something like that [‘Got to Give It Up’], something with that groove.’
“Then he started playing a little something and we literally wrote the song in about half an hour and recorded it.
“He and I would go back and forth where I’d sing a line and he’d be like, “Hey, hey, hey!” We started acting like we were two old men on a porch hollering at girls like, ‘Hey, where you going, girl? Come over here!’.”
‘Blurred Lines’ was released on March 26, 2013, in the US through Pharrell’s label Star Trak Recordings.
It hit #1 in 25 countries, including Australia where it was certified quadruple platinum for shipments of 280,000.
In 2013, Gaye’s family and Bridgeport Music initiated a copyright infringement suit.
In March 2015, a jury’s verdict resulted in a $7.3 million award.
The judge reduced the figure to $5.3 million.
In 2016, Thicke and Williams appealed the verdict and tried to overturn the decision.
A federal appeals court upheld the verdict in March 2018.