MUSIC-BLURRED / COPYRIGHT-REAX Marvin Gaye's heirs win $7.4 million for 'Blurred Lines' plagiarism
- Title: MUSIC-BLURRED / COPYRIGHT-REAX Marvin Gaye's heirs win $7.4 million for 'Blurred Lines' plagiarism
- Date: 11th March 2015
- Summary: LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES (MARCH 10, 2015) (REUTERS) TEXT OF STATEMENT FROM ROBIN THICKE, PHARRELL WILLIAMS, AND T.I., READING: "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. Blurred Lines was created from the heart and minds of Pharrell, Robin and T.I. and 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."
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- Story Text: Heirs of the late soul singer Marvin Gaye are overjoyed with the $7.4 million verdict announced on Tuesday (March 10) against recording stars Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams.
The U.S. District Court jury in Los Angeles sided with Gaye's estate in the closely watched litigation, finding that parts of his 1977 hit "Got to Give it Up" were lifted by Thicke and Williams for their summer 2013 R&B chart-topper.
"Right now I feel free. Free from, honestly, free from Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke's chains and what they tried to keep on us and the lies that were told and the fact that we were able to break through anyway. And I'm really just happy, I'm so filled with emotion right now that it's hard to get the words out but this was a miracle," said Gaye's daughter Nona Gaye, who spoke on behalf of the Gaye family.
The defendants were not allowed to play 'Got to Give it Up' in its entirety during the trial because the song was created and recorded in 1977, when songs could only be copyrighted with written notations known as deposit copies. They did, however, present excepts of the song that were annotated.
"Well obviously when you're in a copyright infringement case involving music and you can't play the entirety of the music that's been copied it's an uphill battle. But, what we were able to do, what the court allowed us to do is to play excerpts of the music that was copied," said attorney Richard Busch, representing the family of Gaye.
The jury awarded Gaye's heirs $4 million in actual damages plus $3.4 million in profits that Thicke and Williams were found to have derived from their copyright infringement of "Got to Give it Up."
Several other parties sued by Gaye's estate, the rapper T.I. and various record and music companies, were cleared of copyright infringement on "Got to Give it Up."
"I'm disappointed and I'm sure my clients are disappointed by the verdict. We know in our hearts that 'Blurred Lines' is an independent creation from the heart and soul of Pharrell Williams and no one else," said Howard King, the attorney representing Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke.
Thicke, Williams, and T.I. released a statement expressing their disappointment with the decision.
"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. Blurred Lines was created from the heart and minds of Pharrell, Robin and T.I. and 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," read the statement.
The suit by Gaye's children cited excerpts of magazine interviews given by Thicke to support their contention he had publicly admitted to drawing on "Got to Give it Up" when producing and recording "Blurred Lines."
But Thicke said later in sworn statements he was high on painkillers and alcohol when "Blurred Lines" became a hit and that he exaggerated his contribution to writing the song.
Thicke sang the raunchy, percussive R&B dance tune, a worldwide hit that ranked as the biggest U.S. pop song of the summer of 2013, at that year's MTV Video Music Awards in a provocative performance featuring pop singer Miley Cyrus.
Williams, the producer behind the song, acknowledged in court that he had been a fan of Gaye's music since childhood, but said under oath that "Blurred Lines" and "Got to Give it Up" were similar in terms of genre only.
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