Judge Rules That Pharrell Williams Did Not Commit Perjury In “Blurred Lines” Case
Eight years later, the “Blurred Lines” copyright lawsuit had finally been put to rest.
Marvin Gaye’s family alleged that Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke ripped off Gaye’s “Got to Give it Up” in their 2013 single, “Blurred Lines.” That case was closed in 2018, where Williams and Thicke were ruled liable for copyright infringement. In December 2019, Gaye’s family filed a motion accusing Williams of committing perjury during the case.
The plaintiffs tried to plead their case by referring to a November 2019 GQ interview in which Williams said that he “reverse engineered” Gaye’s song. Williams claimed that he “did not go in the studio with the intention of making anything feel like or to should like, Marvin Gaye.
“We try to figure out if we can build a building that doesn’t look the same but makes you feel the same way. I did that in ‘Blurred Lines’ and got myself in trouble,” Williams reveled in the interview about his music production process.
On Friday, a California federal judge ruled that Williams’ statements did not show that he committed any perjury.
“The statements by Williams during the November 2019 interview are cryptic and amenable to multiple interpretations,” said U.S. District Court Judge John Kronstadt. “For example, it is unclear what Williams meant by ‘reverse-engineer[ing].’ Read in context, Williams statement about ‘reverse-engineering’ could be interpreted as a process in which he remembers his feelings when he listens to particular music and then attempts ti recreate those feelings in his own works. This is not inconsistent with his deposition testimony, in which he claimed that he realized after creating ‘Blurred Lines’ that the feeling he tried to capture in the song, was one that he associated with Marvin Gaye.”
“For these reasons, the Gaye parties have not shown by clear and compelling evidence that there are sufficiently material inconsistencies between Williams’ statements in the November 2019 interview and his sworn testimonies, to support a finding of perjury,” Kronstadt continued.
Gaye’s family was not granted the $3.5 million they were seeking but the judge did rule that the family will receive half of all future royalties for “Blurred Lines.”