Yesterday, an eight-person jury reached a verdict saying Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke did indeed copy elements of Marvin Gaye’s music to create their hit song “Blurred Lines.” The pair were ordered to pay nearly $7.4 million to the late Gaye’s three children. But what does this mean for the music industry?
First off, $7.4 million is a huge chunk of change even for these two mega musicians-producers, not to mention the millions of future potential profits for “Blurred Lines.” Talk about a loss! Of course, Thicke and Williams will most likely file an appeal which could drag the case out several years.
On the flip side, it has been reported that the Gaye family will seek an injunction against the song, which will give them the opportunity to negotiate for royalties and other concessions, including a possible songwriting credit.
Speaking of songwriting credits, lets not even get into the fact that Thicke admitted in his deposition during this trial that he was too high and drunk all of last year to have written the hit, which he publicly claimed was his idea at the height of its success. Epic. Fail.
The bigger question is, how will this affect the future of creative process. Williams claimed in court that the pair was only trying to mimic the feel of Gaye’s music in his hit song “Got To Give It Up.” And surely, plenty of song’s today pay tribute to songs that have come before it. So where it the legal line between tribute and infringement?
Thicke and Williams’s lead attorney Howard King stated in his closing arguments that the verdict would have a chilling effect on musicians trying to evoke an era or create an homage to the sound of earlier artists. Do you agree? Let us know in the comments below.