'Blurred Lines' Ruling Sliced to $5.3 Million, With a Catch - Rolling Stone
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‘Blurred Lines’ Ruling Sliced to $5.3 Million, With a Catch

Judge adds T.I. to lawsuit, gives Marvin Gaye’s family 50 percent of all future royalties

Robin ThickeRobin Thicke

The "Blurred Lines" judge cut the Gaye family's $7.4 million award to $5.3 million, but gave them 50 percent of future royalties for the Robin Thicke-Pharrell song

Jerome Favre

UPDATE: Robin Thicke, Pharrell Williams and T.I. officially issued their appeal in the “Blurred Lines” verdict, according to The Wrap.

The judge presiding over the “Blurred Lines” trial agreed to cut the jury’s March verdict of a $7.4 million award for the family of Marvin Gaye to $5.3 million from Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams. However, for lessening the original verdict by $2 million, there is a catch: The Gaye family will receive 50 percent of all future royalties from “Blurred Lines,” The Associated Press reports.

In a 56-page post-trial ruling, Judge John A. Kronstadt also blocked a request for a new trial from Thicke and Williams’ lawyers as well as an injunction from the Gaye family that would have temporarily blocked all sales of “Blurred Lines” until the royalties dispute was ironed out. The original verdict, which found that “Blurred Lines” passed an infringement-worthy resemblance to Gaye’s “Got to Give it Up,” only covered past sales of the 2013 hit single, and the Gaye family’s lawyer threatened to “re-litigate the infringement at least every three years” if a fixed percentage on future royalties wasn’t settled upon. 

However, the person who received the worst news from the judge’s latest ruling was T.I.: Although the rapper skirted any legal trouble during the initial “Blurred Lines” trial – T.I. is credited as a co-songwriter and received royalties, but the jury found the rapper did not commit copyright infringement – the judge ruled Tuesday that T.I. must be included in the judgment against Thicke and Williams. The trio’s labels Universal, Interscope, and Star Trak Entertainment were also found liable in the new ruling. (Williams, however, saw the judge’s decision slice his own personal cut of the jury award from $1.6 million to $358,000.)

“Mr. Thicke and Williams, and their legal team, among others, went on a public relations campaign after the jury’s verdict criticizing the verdict and saying the evidence did not support the finding of copyright infringement, and did not believe the decision on liability would therefore stand,” the Gaye family’s attorney, Richard Busch, said in a statement. “The judge who actually heard all of the evidence disagreed. I am thrilled for the Gaye family, and the thoughtful members of the jury, who had to listen to all of that while remaining silent.”

Busch added he was “thrilled with the decision by the Court not only affirming the decision of the jury that Mr. Thicke and Mr. Williams committed copyright infringement, but also the decision holding [T.I.] and Universal liable as well.”

Despite being denied a new trial, Williams’ lawyer Howard King told The Hollywood Reporter“While we certainly respect the diligence and care devoted by the court throughout these proceedings, we must agree to disagree on the conclusions. We look forward to exercising our further remedies and ultimately achieving clarity on the difference between inspiration and copyright infringement.”

King wrote in a statement that he will appeal the judge’s ruling.


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