“My client has not filed a lawsuit regarding the Empire series,” Paul Philips, Gaye’s lawyer, tells Rolling Stone. “Right now, Marvin’s interests and our efforts remain focused on the ‘Blurred Lines’ case and on seeing that through to its conclusion. We will address the TMZ report and the Empire matter at the appropriate time.”
The gossip site originally reported that Gaye claimed to have come up with the Fox series’ plot over five years ago. The post noted that he had registered a show called Diamonds & Ballads with the Writers Guild of America in 2010. The treatment was allegedly based on the families of both Gaye and Motown founder Berry Gordy. TMZ cited a lawyer for Gaye, though Philips tells Rolling Stone that neither he nor Gaye know the identity of this unnamed and unauthorized source.
In March, Gaye and his siblings won their highly publicized lawsuit against Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams. The family claimed that the songwriters ripped off their father’s 1977 single “Got to Give It Up” on 2013 smash “Blurred Lines.” Thicke and Williams were ordered to pay $7.3 million of the originally sought $25 million to the Gaye family. The payment was cut down to $5.3 million in July, though the writers will have to pay 50 percent of all future royalties to the family.
Empire will return for its second season on September 23rd. The breakout series has an all-star roster of guest stars slated to appear in the upcoming year, including Pitbull, Mariah Carey, Kelly Rowland, Marisa Tomei and Ludacris.