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Crime News

Judge Orders Robin Thicke And Pharrell Williams To Pay $5 Million Over 'Blurred Lines'

Marvin Gaye’s family famously accused Thicke and Williams of copyright infringement after the release of the 2013 hit song “Blurred Lines,” sparking an intense debate on the line between inspiration and imitation.

By Sharon Lynn Pruitt

The years-long legal battle over Robin Thicke’s 2013 hit “Blurred Lines” seems to have come to an end, with a judge upholding a previous ruling in favor of the estate of Marvin Gaye.

Gaye’s family filed a lawsuit five years ago alleging that Thicke’s track borrowed too heavily from the 1977 Gaye song “Got To Give It Up” and accusing Thicke, as well as Pharrell Williams and rapper T.I., who were featured artists on the song, of copyright infringement.

Thicke and Williams were ordered in 2015 to pay Gaye’s family $7 million, and though the pair appealed the decision soon after, a federal judge ruled on Monday that Thicke, Williams, and Thicke’s company, More Water From Nazareth Publishing Inc., are responsible for paying Gaye’s family nearly $5 million, according to Billboard.

All three parties are equally responsible for $2,848,846.50 in damages, while Thicke is responsible for another $1,768,191.88, and Williams and his company are responsible for another $357,630.96, the outlet reports.

The judge also ruled that Gaye’s family will receive prejudgment interest on the award, as well as be paid 50 percent of royalties from the song going forward, according to Billboard. 

A judge previously upheld the jury’s verdict in 2015 but lowered the Gayes’ award from $7.3 million to $5.3, Variety reports.

A federal court of appeals upheld the $5.3 million verdict in March but, in a win for T.I., concluded that neither he nor Interscope Records, the company that released the song, should be held liable.

Williams’ camp declined to comment to People on the recent ruling, while Thicke’s representatives did not respond to a request for comment.

Following the initial 2015 ruling, Williams criticized the guilty verdict, with a representative for Williams telling People that the decision “sets a horrible precedent for music and creativity going forward.”

“Pharrell created ‘Blurred Lines’ from his heart, mind and soul and the song was not taken from anyone or anywhere else,” Williams’ representative said. “We are reviewing the decision, considering our options and you will hear more from us soon about this matter.”

Thicke backpedaled on previous claims that he’d written the song by revealing that he struggled with substance abuse and was frequently not sober during interviews and, by extension, when he made such statements.

After being awarded $5.3 million in March, two of Gaye’s children, Frankie and Nona Gaye, called it “a victory for the rights of all musicians,” Reuters reports.

[Photo Credit: Getty Images]

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