Pharrell and Robin Thicke Must Pay Marvin Gaye's Family $5 Million Over 'Blurred Lines': Reports
After a five-year-long legal back-and-forth, a judge has determined that Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke, the artists behind the 2013 mega hit “Blurred Lines,” must pay the family of the late Marvin Gaye $5 million, multiple outlets report.
The pair was sued for copyright infringement because of the song’s similarities to Gaye’s “Got to Give It Up” from 1977, CNN reports. In 2015, a judge ruled Williams, 45, and Thicke, 41, owed Gaye’s estate $7 million, but after they appealed, the judgment — from U.S. District Judge John A. Kronstadt in California on Monday — was reduced to $4,983,766.85, Billboard reports.
Thicke, Williams and Williams’ publishing company owe $2.9 million combined, plus an additional $1.7 million from Thicke and some $357,631 from Williams and his company. Gaye’s family will also earn 50 percent of “Blurred Lines” royalties in the future.
A rep for Williams had no comment, while a rep for Thicke did not respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
In 2015, a judge first ruled that Williams and Thicke copied Gaye’s song.
“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,” Williams’ rep said in a statement at the time. “Pharrell created ‘Blurred Lines’ from his heart, mind and soul and the song was 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.”
A day earlier, Williams acknowledged the singles had a similar “feel,” and his lawyer said conflating that as copyright infringement would hold grave consequences for the music industry.
“No one can claim they own the style or the genre of Marvin Gaye,” attorney Howard King said at the time, according to the Associated Press. “There are no virgin births in music. … Let my clients go forth and continue to [make] magic.”
Williams also talked to Access Hollywood about the verdict, calling it “shocking … I think, when you look back at it, I think the jury voted on emotion … This is my opinion – I feel like the verdict was based on emotion and not the real true issue, which was copyright infringement … There’s no copyright infringement.”
The “Happy” singer continued, “If that verdict stands, people can’t be inspired by anything, companies can’t be inspired by anything, or else they’re liable for suit.”
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The trial led to some eccentric testimony from Thicke, who performed a piano medley in court and argued that, despite taking credit for the success of “Blurred Lines” in multiple interviews, he didn’t actually write the song, blaming his lies on substance abuse and his split from then-wife Paula Patton.
T.I., who added his raps to the track after it was first recorded, was also named in the suit and found guilty, the AP reported at the time.