Sony Settles 'Blurred Lines' Lawsuit With Marvin Gaye's Family

The agreement spares Sony the position of defending their 30-percent market stake and the conflicts that come with it

Robin Thicke performs in Washington, DC.
Paul Morigi/WireImage
January 14, 2014 11:10 AM ET

Publishing giant Sony/ATV and Marvin Gaye's estate have reached a settlement in the ongoing lawsuit over Robin Thicke's 2013 smash "Blurred Lines," according to The Hollywood Reporter. While the terms of the settlement were not made public, as the case moves forward Sony/ATV will not have to defend giving copyrights to "Blurred Lines" and Gaye's "Got To Give It Up." The case will now specifically involve Gaye's estate and Thicke and his publishing company EMI April, which is owned by Sony/ATV.

"Blurred Lines" and More of the 50 Best Songs of 2013

Thicke, as well as the songs co-writers Pharrell Williams and T.I., took pre-emptive action back in August, seeking declaratory relief that their song was "starkly different" from "Got to Give It Up." Gaye's estate then counter-sued, accusing EMI of not protecting the R&B legend's music and actively trying to stop the family from hindering "Blurred Lines"' success (the publishing company's chairman allegedly blasted the family for "ruining an incredible song" and "killing the goose that laid the golden egg").

 10 Things You Don't Know About the "Blurred Lines" Model

Along with scoring monetary compensation from "Blurred Lines," Gaye's family also sought to split with EMI, a move Sony/ATV reportedly called "ill-advised." Though the settlement means Sony/ATV will not have to defend their impartiality, it's possible that if the case makes it to trial, Thicke's camp will want the publisher to testify in court as to why it decided the two songs were dissimilar. Still, the new agreement spares Sony/ATV the uncomfortable position of defending their 30-percent stake in the music publishing market and the inherent conflicts – such as this one – that come with it.

Why Rob Sheffield Thinks "Blurred Lines" Is the Worst Song Ever

Despite the legal battles, "Blurred Lines" helped Thicke notch three Gammy nominations, including Record of the Year, Best Pop Duo/Group Performance and Best Pop Vocal Album for Blurred Lines. Thicke is also set to perform at this year's awards show – taking place January 26th – alongside jazz-rock vets Chicago.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next

blog comments powered by Disqus
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“American Girl”

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | 1976

It turns out that a single with "American" in its title--recorded on the Fourth of July during the nation's Bicentennial, no less--can actually sell better in Britain. Coupled with the Heartbreakers' flair for Byrds jangle and Animals hooks, though, is Tom Petty's native-Florida drawl that keeps this classic grounded at home. Petty dispelled rumors that the song was about a suicidal student, explaining that the inspiration came from when he was 25 and used to salute the highway traffic outside his apartment window. "It sounded like the ocean to me," he recalled. "That was my ocean. My Malibu. Where I heard the waves crash, but it was just the cars going by."

More Song Stories entries »