After a year and a half long lawsuit, a federal jury ruled in favor of Marvin Gaye’s estate, finding that Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams committed copyright infringement in regards to their hit song “Blurred Lines” plagiarizing Gaye’s “Got to Give It Up.” As a result, co-writers, Thicke and Williams will be required to pay Gaye’s children more than $7.3 million.
The case has opened a dialog in both the media and within the music industry regarding the fine line between being inspired by past works and imitating them. In a joint statement responding to the verdict, Thicke and Williams said “we are extremely disappointed in the ruling made today, which sets a horrible precedent for music and creativity going forward.”
While copyright cases are common in the music industry, this particular case is unique for its large damages and because it reached a jury at all. In most cases, patent claims are settled out of court, such as the recent dispute between Tom Petty and Sam Smith over “Stay With Me.”