Starting yesterday, the heirs of Marvin Gaye will collect half of all future earnings from the Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke chart-topper “Blurred Lines,” according to court papers obtained by City News Service.
In a judgment entered in Los Angeles federal court, U.S. District Judge John A. Kronstadt implemented a $5.3 million jury award against Williams, Thicke, rapper Clifford “T.I.” Harris Jr. and various companies, setting the stage for a likely appeal, according to Howard King, an attorney for the pop stars.
Kronstadt previously trimmed $2 million off the March copyright infringement verdict of nearly $7.4 million, ruling the evidence did not support the amount.
The music companies Universal, Interscope and Star Trak Entertainment were also found liable in the judge’s July ruling.
A federal civil jury found that Williams and Thicke lifted elements of the 1977 Gaye disco hit “Got to Give it Up” when they penned “Blurred Lines.” The jury also cleared Harris — who had added a rap segment to the track — of any wrongdoing, but the judge later found him liable.
Jurors never heard the actual recording of “Got to Give It Up” during the trial. Because laws at the time allowed for only the sheet music composition, not the sound recording, to be copyrighted, Kronstadt ruled that jurors could consider only what was noted on paper on file at the Library of Congress.
Attorneys for Williams and Thicke contended that hours of testimony by a musicologist, centering on her opinion as to the similarity of the two songs’ sound recordings, swayed the jury and should not have been allowed.