Last month came news of Sam Smith pinching a hit with a little help, unintentionally albeit, from Tom Petty/Jeff Lynne’s ‘I Won’t Back Down’. That lawsuit from last year yielded Petty/Lynne, a chunk of change. Presumably far less than the payday that’s been awarded to the family of the late Marvin Gaye.
Jurors in Los Angeles decided that ‘Blurred Lines’, the 2013 single by Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke breached the copyright of Gaye’s 1977 hit Got To Give It Up.
The family has been awarded $7.3m in damages.
Thicke and Williams denied copying the hit, and their lawyer said musicians would find the ruling chilling.
Gaye died in April 1984, leaving his children Nona, Frankie, and Marvin Gaye III, who would sue in 2013, the copyright to his music.
Nona commented on the ruling: “Right now, I feel free … free from… Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke’s chains and what they tried to keep on us and the lies that were told.”
In court, Williams had told jurors that Gaye’s music was part of the soundtrack of his youth but he insisted it was not on his mind when he wrote the song and agreed that he was “channeling… that late-70s feeling” when he co-wrote the song.
Thicke testified that he had contributed little to the writing of the song.
Blurred Lines generated more than $16m in profits and made more than $5m for Thicke and Williams.
Have a listen to both songs, back to back, in this comparison.
Speaking of rip-offs, intentional or otherwise ….