'Blurred Lines' suit against Robin Thicke, Pharrell ends in $5 million judgment

Thicke and Williams have yet to respond to the settlement, but after the original verdict was made in 2015, a representative for the Happy hitmaker told Billboard, "While we respect the judicial process, we are extremely disappointed in the ruling made today, which sets a awful precedent for music and creativity going forward".

The ruling concludes a legal battle that began in 2013, when Marvin Gaye's family claimed Blurred Lines copied Gaye's 1977 hit Got to Give It Up.

The judgement was controversial within much of the songwriting community because many felt it set a risky precedent that could result in a flood of copyright infringement lawsuits against songs that had been influenced by earlier works. Additionally, the Gayes are now entitled to half of all the royalties that "Blurred Lines" receives in the future. This was based on support for the argument put forward by Williams and Thicke that "Blurred Lines" shared a "vibe" with "Got To Give It Up" but wasn't a straight rip-off.

The appeal court was also split on this issue, and one of the three judges dissented from the ruling when it was delivered earlier this year.

But, the district court and the appeal court found enough similarities in phrases, hooks, bass lines, harmonic structures, keyboard chords and vocal melodies.

The case has been settled once and for all, and a California federal judge issued a judgment for nearly $5 million against the duo.

Thicke was ordered to pay an additional US$1.76 million. While Thicke was also ordered to pay more than $1.7 million, Williams and his publishing company was ordered to pay $357,631 in separate awards to the Gaye estate. She further wrote the decision "strikes a devastating blow to future musicians and composers everywhere".

  • Marlene Weaver