Judge Denies “Blurred Lines” Retrial
The monumental "Blurred Lines" case that awarded Marvin Gaye's family estate $7.4 million continues to make headlines. Following the March verdict, Pharrell and Thicke's lawyers asked for a retrial claiming that there were "errors in jury instructions, improper testimony from a musicologist and insufficient evidence to support a finding that the two songs were substantially similar."
Yesterday (July 14), according to a report from The Hollywood Reporter, U.S. District Judge John Kronstadt ruled that there would be no retrial and also changed the original outcome of the trial. First, Kronstadt reduced the damage sum from $7.4 million to $5.3 million, which eases the blow a bit for Thicke and Pharrell. Unfortunately for T.I., who also appeared on the smash hit, the judge also ruled that the rapper is also liable alongside UMG Recordings, Interscope and Star Trak Entertainment. T.I. will have to pay about $358,000 in damages. Finally, the judge denied the Gaye family's request that song be removed from distribution outlets but did declare that the family will receive an ongoing royalty rate of 50 percent of songwriter and publishing revenues.
This is unlikely the last time we will hear about the case as Pharrell and Thicke will likely take the proceedings to an appeals court.
Richard Busch, the Gaye family attorney, released a statement saying he is, "thrilled with the decision by the Court not only affirming the decision of the jury that Mr. Thicke and Mr. Williams committed copyright infringement, but also the decision holding [T.I.] and Universal liable as well. As far as reduction of damages, we are reviewing that, and the Court's analysis on that issue, and will be discussing internally our options."
Pharrell's lawyer spoke on behalf of his client saying, "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."