Pharrell and Robin Thicke flatlined in court.
Back in 2013, Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke had one of the hottest songs of the summer with “Blurred Lines.” The song was everywhere from the clubs to commercials.
Then, in 2015, the estate of Marvin Gaye sued the duo for the “infringement of copyright” for his song “Got to Give It Up.”
Per The New York Times, the family believed that Pharrell and Robin Thicke had copied the song without their permission and it was the sample that helped launch it to being one of the biggest hits of 2013.
Lawyers for both artists said the claim was ridiculous and many worried if the suit was taking the idea of what is and is not infringement a little too far.
However, the case has set in motion a great deal of similar suits in the three years since including Xscape singer/songwriter Kandi Buress threatening legal action over Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” for sampling her Grammy winning hit “No Scrubs” by TLC.
In the original suit, Gaye’s estate claimed that the duo was responsible for $7.3 million for the infringement as well as 50% of all royalties. The suit also included rapper T.I. as well as Interscope Records for damages.
In 2016, Thicke and Williams filed an appeal with their opening statement reported by XXL Mag saying that a guilty verdict would “chill musical creativity and inhibit the process by which later artists draw inspiration from earlier artists to create new popular music.”
However, the original ruling is still in place and Thicke and Williams will now have to pay the estate. Gaye’s three children believe that the industry shifting decision that makes it illegal to draw inspiration from another artist and not just words and beats, isn’t a bad thing but rather one that will help artists.
In a statement they said:
“We respect the court’s point of view and do not believe it will ‘stifle creativity’, as has been suggested by some, but instead it will promote originality. If an artist wants to use the work of others for ‘inspiration,’ they always have been welcome to ask for permission.”
This is a landmark decision and will likely be cited in future lawsuits in regards to copyright.
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Watch: Robin Thicke feat. T.I. and Pharrell Blurred Lines