Los Angeles — A ruling upholding a copyright infringement verdict against Pharrell Williams, Robin Thicke and rapper T.I. over their hit song “Blurred Lines” will be appealed, a lawyer for the entertainers said.
Attorney Howard King wrote in a statement late Tuesday that the musicians independently created “Blurred Lines,” which was 2013’s biggest hit song. The men had been sued by Marvin Gaye’s children over the song, claiming it copied their father’s 1977 hit, “Got to Give It Up.”
A jury agreed in March and awarded the family nearly $7.4 million, but U.S. District Judge John Kronstadt trimmed the verdict to $5.3 million on Tuesday. He also ruled that Gaye’s family should receive future royalties from “Blurred Lines.”
Jurors found that T.I., who received songwriting credit and a share of the royalties, did not commit copyright infringement, but Kronstadt ruled Tuesday that other elements of the jury’s verdict mean the rapper must be included in the judgment.
“Pharrell, Robin and T.I. independently created every note and lyric of ‘Blurred Lines,’” King wrote. “We look forward to ultimately obtaining appellate confirmation that no one can own a genre or a groove and that composers can be free to be inspired by the works of those creators that came before them.”
Williams is a 10-time Grammy Award winner whose songs that he’s either performed or produced have sold more than 100 million copies worldwide. His hit “Happy” has helped make him a household name, as has his work as a judge on NBC’s singing competition show, “The Voice.”
Williams contended during the trial that he was only trying to mimic the “feel” of Gaye’s late 1970s music and insisted he did not use elements of his idol’s work.
“Mr. Thicke and Williams, and their legal team, among others, went on a public relations campaign after the jury’s verdict criticizing the verdict and saying the evidence did not support the finding of copyright infringement, and did not believe the decision on liability would therefore stand,” the Gaye family’s attorney, Richard Busch, wrote in a statement after Tuesday’s ruling. “The judge who actually heard all of the evidence disagreed. I am thrilled for the Gaye family, and the thoughtful members of the jury, who had to listen to all of that while remaining silent.”
Busch said he and his team were reviewing the ruling and would discuss options for how the reduction in the verdict would be handled.
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