Marvin Gaye's family keeps $5m payout in 'Blurred Lines' lawsuit

22 March 2018, 11:53

Robin Thicke/Marvin Gaye

A court has ruled that Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams copied a Marvin Gaye track to create their huge 2013 hit 'Blurred Lines'.

The appeal court upheld a 2015 verdict, which means that Gaye's family will keep a $5m (£3.5m) payout.

The family will also receive 50% of future royalties from 'Blurred Lines'.

However, one judge criticised the verdict, saying the two songs "differed in melody, harmony and rhythm".

Read more: 7 times artists sued others for copying their music

Judge Jacqueline Nguyen said that the ruling "strikes a devastating blow to future musicians and composers everywhere".

In the original trial, a jury found that 'Blurred Lines' had deliberately copied Gaye's 1973 track 'Got To Give It Up' - despite many people stating that the songs were only similar in style, rather than the composition and melody itself.

Can you hear the resemblance? Listen below:

The songwriters' appeal was backed by 212 other artists, including John Oates and Jason Mraz.

They argued that the decision "threaten[ed] to punish songwriters for creating new music that is inspired by prior works."

Nguyen added that the decision let the Gayes "accomplish what no one has before: copyright a musical style".

"The Gayes, no doubt, are pleased by this outcome," she wrote. "They shouldn't be. They own copyrights in many musical works, each of which (including Got To Give It Up) now potentially infringes the copyright of any famous song that preceded it. That is the consequence of the majority's uncritical deference to music experts."

Since the trial, various other artists have been met with similar cases, including Bruno Mars, Ed Sheeran, Madonna and Miley Cyrus.

Taylor Swift pre-empted any copyright claims, giving Right Said Fred a writing credit for her single 'Look What You Made Me Do' after she noticed a slight similarity to their hit 'I'm Too Sexy'.