UPDATE
As predicted below and not to any big surprise, Pharrell and Robin Thicke have announced that they will appeal the jury determination.
*Originally Posted on March 10, 2016 *
The verdict is in after a much publicized two week jury trial over whether the song “Blurred Lines” was ripped off from a Marvin Gaye tune without permission.
In August 2013, Robin Thicke, Pharrell Williams and T.I. preemptively sued the estate of Marvin Gaye and Gaye fired back with a lawsuit of its own over the song “Blurred Lines”. Specifically, the Gayes assert that “Blurred Lines” “sounds” and “feels” just like Marvin Gaye’s “Got to Give It Up”. However, plaintiffs deny copying those songs when creating their smash hit. During interviews Thicke claimed that in creating “Blurred Lines” they were inspired by the sound of a certain era and by Marvin Gaye. Robin Thicke at one point relied upon a unique defense to claims of copyright infringement over his mega-hit “Blurred Lines”: he was high on drugs and alcohol during the creative process.
During a deposition that occurred in April, Thicke claimed that he was “high on Vicodin and alcohol” while recording and promoting “Blurred Lines'” and accidentally exaggerated his creative role and Gaye’s influence on the process. Thicke claims that Pharrell Williams actually did most of the creative work on the song. Pharrell testified that the song merely invokes the “feel” on the 1970’s and he was actually inspired by working with Miley Cyrus (who wouldn’t be.)
After a drawn out two week trial which also saw Robin Thicke play the piano, testimony from music executives that the song generated $16.7 million in profits, and unfortunately no testimony from any baby farm animals, the estate of Marvin Gaye requested $25 million for the alleged copyright infringement.
Just minutes ago the jury issued its verdict. Not much detail here as a jury does not issue a written decision but the jury held that Thicke and his cohorts did commit copyright infringement when creating the song. The jury was left with the question of whether the two songs were substantially similar and they agreed that the tunes were similar. The jury awarded $7.3 million for the infringement. I am sure this is not the end to this as an appeal is highly likely.