How Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” Testimony Cost Them Millions…


It only took two days of deliberation before jurors reached their decision in the “Blurred Lines” lawsuit. Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke were found guilty of copyright infringement and fined $7.4 million.

The trial opened the eyes of music labels and executives forcing them to rethink how music is produced and sold. New details about the trial revealed how music – and the circumstances surrounding it – can be dissected in a court of law.

During the “Blurred Lines” trial, Marvin Gaye’s family attorney grilled Williams and Thicke on how the idea of the song came about. Williams had to go into detail about in-studio process, the day the foundation of the track was laid. He stated that he “surfed” for chords, sat down at his drum set, and in about a hour, came up with the music. Thicke joined him in the studio shortly thereafter.

But it was during Thicke’s testimony that Gaye’s attorney focused in on how the idea for the song came about. Ultimately, it was Thicke’s vocal outcry about his love for the original song “Got to Give It Up” that sealed their fate.

Thicke repeatedly mentioned in interviews that “Got to Give It Up,” one of his favorite songs, was an inspiration for “Blurred Lines.”

He told interviewers he liked the song so much, he told Williams he wanted to record something similar.

Sitting in on many of the interviews was an Interscope Records representative. Bilzerian said the label, which arranged hundreds of promotional events for the song including the “Today” show, didn’t tell Thicke what to do or say.

That exposure helped propel “Blurred Lines” to the top of the charts in 80 countries, selling more than 14 million copies worldwide and 7.3 million copies in the United States alone. Marketing efforts cost around $3 million.

Everyone involved, except Gaye’s family, made money. Williams and Thicke pocketed more than $7 million apiece in profits from the song.

Thicke’s quotes would come back to haunt him after Gaye’s family filed suit. Thicke’s defense of himself was unflattering – he testified he was drunk and high on drugs and misspoke about conversations with Williams. (AP)

If Thicke had not referenced the original song in numerous interviews, the Gaye’s lawsuit may not have stood up in court. It is much harder to prove copyright infringement in musical compositions. This is why so many records producers get away with stealing others people’s work. Unfortunately, in this case, the similarities were too obvious to miss.

It is expected that an appeal will be filed by Williams and Thicke.