A federal appeals court upheld a copyright infringement verdict against Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams over the 2013 hit song "Blurred Lines."
In a split decision from a three-judge panel, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday awarded $5.3 million to the family of Marvin Gaye, who said "Blurred Lines" illegally copied from the late soul singer's "Got to Give it Up."
The court confirmed that Gaye’s estate is entitled to 50% of all royalties from that song forever. It also found that the rapper T.I. wasn't personally liable in the case and is not responsible for damages.
“We are delighted with the Ninth Circuit’s decision. It recognizes that the jury properly found that Blurred Lines copied Marvin Gaye’s groundbreaking 1977 hit 'Got to Give It Up,'" said Richard Busch, an attorney for the Gaye family. "The Court upheld the award of substantial damages and the order requiring Williams and Thicke to share 50% of their royalties with the Gaye family in perpetuity. Notably, the majority opinion suggested that the Gaye’s were correct in their position that their compositional copyright extended to musical elements found in the commercial sound recording.”
Two judges from the panel of three rejected the defense's request to overturn the verdict or order a new trial.
New: 9th Circuit won't order a new trial in the "Blurred Lines" copyright infringement case (the jury ruled for Marvin Gaye's family), won't revisit Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams' unsuccessful motion for summary judgment https://t.co/5wEnOW5pe2 pic.twitter.com/gFVvYh2GRw— Zoe Tillman (@ZoeTillman) March 21, 2018
Dissenting Judge Jacqueline Nguyen said the decision has allowed the Gaye family to copyright an entire musical style.
Howard King, attorney for Thicke and Williams, says he plans further appeals.
Marvin Gaye "Got to Give it Up" (1977)
Robin Thicke "Blurred Lines" (2013):