District Judge John A. Kronstadt has cut more than $1 million from the damages Pharrell Williams was ordered to pay after the Blurred Lines copyright trial.
The case revolved around the question of whether Pharrell Williams and his co-writer Robin Thicke had copied Marvin Gaye’s 1977 hit Got To Give It Up.
In March, a jury ruled that they had, and awarded Marvin Gaye’s family $7.3 million in damages.
However, District Judge John A. Kronstadt has now slashed that to $5.3 million.
The cut comprises a reduction in actual damages from $4 million to just under $3.2 million, and a drop in the profits that Pharrell Williams has to turn over from about $1.6 million to about $358,000.
The judge also gave Marvin Gaye’s family a 50% cut of future earnings from the song, but rejected a request that would have temporarily blocked sales and performances of the track.
Judge Kronstadt’s ruling also refused a request by Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams’ lawyers for a new trial.
In March, jurors found that rapper TI, who received a songwriting credit and a share of the royalties for his verse on Blurred Lines, did not commit copyright infringement – but Judge Kronstadt ruled that other elements of the jury’s verdict mean he must be included in the judgment.
He also found that found that Interscope Records, Universal Music Group and Star Trak Entertainment were liable.
Marvin Gaye family lawyer Richard Busch said he was “thrilled” the court had affirmed the jury’s decision on copyright infringement.
“As far as the reduction in damages, we are reviewing that, and the Court’s analysis on that issue, and will be discussing internally our options,” he added.
Pharrell Williams’ lawyer Howard King added: “While we certainly respect the diligence and care devoted by the court throughout these proceedings, we must agree to disagree on the conclusions.”
“We look forward to exercising our further remedies and ultimately achieving clarity on the difference between inspiration and copyright infringement.”
Nominated for record of the year at the 2013 Grammys, Blurred Lines was a No 1 on both sides of the Atlantic and one of the biggest-selling songs of the year.
Since its release, Blurred Lines has earned nearly $16.5 million in profits, according to court documents, with Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke making more than $5 million each.
At the trial, Pharrell Willliams contended that he was only trying to mimic the “feel” of Marvin Gaye’s music and insisted he did not use elements of his idol’s work.
The ruling paves the way for the next phase of the showdown when Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams are expected to take the dispute to an appeals court.
Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke will appeal the Blurred Lines verdict which ruled that they copied Marvin Gaye’s track Got To Give It Up.
On March 10, an LA jury decided that parts of Marvin Gaye’s 1977 hit Got To Give It Up were lifted for Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke’s 2013 hit Blurred Lines.
The family of late soul singer Marvin Gaye was awarded $7.3 million in damages.
Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke’s lawyer said they remained adamant Blurred Lines was original, created solely by them.
“We owe it to songwriters around the world to make sure this verdict doesn’t stand,” Howard King told Fox Business News.
“My clients know that they wrote the song Blurred Lines from their hearts and souls and no other source.
“We are going to exercise every post-trial remedy we have to make sure this verdict does not stand.”
Howard King added that expert evidence in the case, which may have swayed the jury, should have been inadmissible.
In particular, said Howard King, the testimony from a musicologist that compared Blurred Lines with Got To Give It Up was based on elements of Marvin Gaye’s song that were not on the original sheet music.
At the time of its copyright, only the written music could be registered as protected, not sound recordings.
“Clearly the jury relied on what that expert said in reaching their conclusion,” said Howard King.
Marvin Gaye died in April 1984, leaving his children the copyright to his music. His children – Nona, Frankie and Marvin Gaye III – sued Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams in 2013.
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Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines – one of the best-selling singles of all time – copied a Marvin Gaye’s hit Got To Give It Up, a Los Angeles jury has ruled.
Jurors in Los Angeles decided that the 2013 single by Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke breached the copyright of Marvin Gaye’s 1977 hit.
The family of the late soul singer has been awarded $7.3 million in damages.
Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams denied copying the hit, and their lawyer said the ruling set a “horrible precedent”.
Marvin Gaye died in April 1984, leaving his children the copyright to his music.
His children – Nona, Frankie and Marvin Gaye III – sued Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams in 2013. Nona Gaye wept as the verdict was read in court.
“Right now, I feel free,” she told reporters after the ruling.
“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, Pharrell Williams had told jurors that Marvin 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.
The musician recognized a likeness between the songs and agreed he was “channeling… that late-70s feeling” when he co-wrote the song.
Robin Thicke testified that he had contributed little to the writing of the song.
“While we respect the judicial process, we are extremely disappointed in the ruling made today, which sets a horrible precedent for music and creativity going forward,” the pair’s lawyer Howard E King said.
“We are reviewing the decision, considering our options and you will hear more from us soon about this matter.”
Blurred Lines, which earned a Grammy nomination, generated more than $16 million in profits and made more than $5 million for Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke.
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