Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams Are Appealing Their 'Blurred Lines' Copyright Loss

Photo via Getty Images.
Photo via Getty Images.

In March 2015, a court ruled that Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams had to cough up $7.4 million due to similarities between their mega-hit “Blurred Lines” and Marvin Gaye’s “Got to Give It Up.” Well, more than a year later, they’re still appealing.

Since last we left the saga of “Blurred Lines,” according to The Hollywood Reporter, damages were trimmed down to $5.3 million, but record labels and T.I. were looped into the verdict, as well. As it stands, they’re paying an ongoing royalty rate to the family of Marvin Gaye. Now the Guardian reports:

Lawyers for the trio filed their opening brief with the ninth circuit court of appeals on 24 August, arguing that “if left to stand, the Blurred Lines verdict would chill musical creativity and inhibit the process by which later artists draw inspiration from earlier artists to create new popular music”.

The appeal is based on the assertion that the judge in the original case, John Kronstadt, misread the law by allowing comparison of the recordings of the two songs, rather than just the sheet music. Williams, Thicke and TI claim – or their lawyers do, at any rate – that Got to Give It Up was one of the last songs recorded before a change to copyright law to include sound recordings. Had Kronstadt, they say, simply considered the sheet music – the “deposit copy” filed with the the US copyright office – then the case would not have gone to trial.


The brief cites the recent decision in favor of Led Zeppelin over “Stairway to Heaven.”

And so the legal maneuvering over this song marches endlessly on, long past the point where it was in heavy rotation. In the meantime, you can listen for yourself.

Senior Editor, Attic Haunter, Jezebel

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I hope they win their appeal.

This isn’t “My Sweet Lord” vs “He’s So Fine”, or “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” vs “Why Don’t You Get a Job”. I had to work my ears to find a resemblance, aside from the ambience of the bass line.

And the fact that Hal Blaine’s descendants have not chosen to sue the bejesus out of the many artists who use the backbeat to “Be My Baby” should be an example to follow, not a welcome relief.