Pharrell, T.I. and Robin Thicke Appeal “Blurred Lines” Verdict
Back in March, a judge ruled in favor of Marvin Gaye's estate in a lawsuit that claimed that "Blurred Lines" by Pharrell, Robin Thicke and T.I. was guilty of copyright infringement for its similarities to Gaye's 1977 track “Got to Give It Up.” The trio was ordered to pay $5.3 million and 50 percent of all songwriting and publishing revenues, but as The Guardian reports, they have filed an appeal against the verdict in a ninth circuit court on Wednesday (Aug. 24).
Lawyers for the musicians said in their opening brief 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.” They argue that original verdict considered the audio similarities between the two songs rather than simply the sheet music or "deposit copy" filed with the the US copyright office.
“What happened instead was a cascade of legal errors warranting this court’s reversal or vacatur for new trial,” the opening brief states. “At summary judgment, the district court entertained expert testimony by musicologists for the Gayes who based their opinions entirely on the sound recording, not the deposit copy. The court correctly filtered out non-deposit copy and generic musical features from their testimony, but then erroneously failed to compare what remained to 'Blurred Lines.'"
What's more, the briefing states that the court allowed the Gayes' experts to testify on the sound recording, as well playing their own music excerpts based on it. The court instructed the jury to consider this testimony, what the defense lawyers say should not have been allowed.
We will continue to update this story as news develops, with a judge tentatively ruling in March that Pharrell and Thicke shouldn’t be required to cover the legal fees for the Gaye estate.
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