Pharrell & Robin Thick Ordered To Pay $7.3 Million To Marvin Gaye's Estate Due To "Blurred Lines"

UPDATE: Pharrell said the songs share "feel."

Pharrell, who recently made his G  I  R  L album available for streaming online, spoke with XXL about his legal battle with Marvin Gaye's estate over Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines."

"I have the utmost respect, the most, utmost respect for Marvin Gaye and his music and he is one of the patriarchs," Pharrell says in the interview. "He is one of the best. But here's the thing—you can't trademark a groove. If I play a song—which a lot of my new hip-hop, rap records are—that's done in 6/8 time signature, Charlie Parker's family is not going to sue me for that. Do you understand what I'm saying? If I do a salsa beat right now, I know that Ricky Martin's family is not going to come looking for me.

"That's what we're dealing with," Pharrell continues. "We're dealing with the idea that someone feels like a groove is proprietary, and it's not. Music is, and the notes are, and when you look at the sheet music, then you'd know. And just for a bit of humor, the percussion that I use on 'Blurred Lines,' aside from the music notation being completely different, completely different—the sheet music is available online, by the way—but the percussion, I was trying to pretend that I was Marvin Gaye, and what he would do had he went down to Nashville and did a record with pentatonic harmonies, and more of a bluegrass chord structure. So unfortunately there's no comparison between the minor, bluesy chords he was playing and my major, bluegrass-y chords, and that's very plain to see for anyone who can read music."

In 2013, "Blurred Lines" was at the center of legal discussions between Pharrell, Robin Thicke and Marvin Gaye's family. According to The Hollywood Reporter, a lawsuit was filed on behalf of "Blurred Lines" makers in a California federal court in August. “Plaintiffs, who have the utmost respect for and admiration of Marvin Gaye, Funkadelic and their musical legacies, reluctantly file this action in the face of multiple adverse claims from alleged successors in interest to those artists," the lawsuit states. "Defendants continue to insist that plaintiffs' massively successful composition, 'Blurred Lines,' copies 'their' compositions."

On Monday (March 3), Pharrell spoke with HipHopDX about how he feels when he is referred to as a genius.

"A genius denotes someone who knows a lot on their own—self-contained," Pharrell said in the HipHopDX exclusive. "And I’m not. All of my work is a direct reaction to meeting all these very interesting people with whom I’ve collaborated. I’ve learned so much about their processes and who they were, and their vibes have inspired me. In that case, I just could not take authorship for my path. I know that I’ve elected to take some of the choices, turns and the direction that I’ve taken. But I know at the same time, there are these integral people in our lives from time to time who come in, give us direction and guide us. They tell us which way to go, and those are the people I feel like are just as much… They share the authorship for all of my successes...So I’m not comfortable in that. I would say I’ve had a lot of really, really, really good help. And I’m just thankful that people have seen something in me, and I was smart enough to allow them to guide me in the right direction. That’s the closest to that term I could ever come to. I’m smart enough to listen to other people, but nowhere near genius."

(March 5, 2014)

UPDATE: Pharrell and Robin Thicke have been ordered to pay Marvin Gaye's family $7.3 million for copyright infringement, according to Variety.

A jury awarded the late singer's family the money because it said that Pharrell and Thicke's work on their 2013 hit "Blurred Lines" copied Gaye's 1977 song "Got to Give up."

At the trial, Pharrell said the songs share "feel – not infringement," the story says.

"Blurred Lines" has reportedly generated $16.5 million.

Gaye's family had been seeking more than $25 million.

For additional Pharrell coverage, watch the following DX Daily:

16 Comments

  • real shit

    If we're really gonna give it to Marvin Gaye's estate here for this than lex lugar should be making BANK on all these producers who "copied" his "groove" the last four years.same exact principle...

  • R.Pgh

    That's a fuck load of money for two songs that have vaguely similar qualities. Seems like a cash grab from Gaye's estate.

  • moresickaMC

    I agree with Pharell. You can't copyright a groove, the songs just happen to be a bit similar. But which song ever is original, everyone inspires everyone. I bet Marvin Gaye has material that sounds similar to whoever inspired him, though his sound was groundbreaking in ways. Pharrell must appeal this. It's insane. Shame on the Gaye family

  • Da' Truth

    That 7.3M "Got To Give It Up!!!" Indeed!!!!

  • wtf

    I actually think these fools deserver to go to jail for yelling "HEY HEY HEY" and "OOOH" the whole time like idiots. Song is annoying as f*** I don't understand how anyone can think of Marvin Gaye immediately after hearing this crap. But the music is almost the same, the vocals are HORRIBLE.

  • Seffus1

    Anyone who doesnt think Blurred Lines copied Marvin Gayes Got To Give It Up is retarded or hasnt heard the Marvin Gaye version. As soon As I heard Blurred Lines I thought it was a remake or a cover. Thats how similar it sounds. Like 90 percent the same beat. Robin Thick even said that in the very begining..before the law suits.

    • Aite

      Is does not have to be in the same key for it to be infringement. The jury said (it seems) that Blurred Lines "copied". And that is obvious! I thought it might slide tho BUT nope. "Copied" is all that matters. No arguing there for anyone the disagrees. It's a copy.

    • Factshoe

      I meant They not There

    • Factshoe

      There are not even in the same key idiot. I get tired of you non musical fools speaking on things you have no knowledge of smh

  • Gob

    Marvin is my all-time favorite singer, but come on! This lawsuit is ridiculous!

  • The Ice Cold Phenom

    Blurred Lines is NOT a copy of "Got to Give It Up" in the sense that it infringed on a copyright. Hell no! You can't clame a broad sound as a copyright. If that is the case, 3/4s of the recording industry is copying someone. The judge just opened the door for a flood of lawsuits if this decision sticks. I hope Pharell and Thicke are able to win this on appeal. Nothing in Blurred Lines is a duplicate of the late great Marvin Gaye's track. What a shame!

    • Gbeg

      Its a matter of how you copy a song/sound. Its not about the song being a duplicate but of how much of the song (either lyrical/melodic) was used in the Blurred lines version. Pharell has been a producer for such a long time. He could have known this would have happened and easily prevented it. By either changing his version to be more different, to be a parody or by asking for Gaye's family approval.

  • Pedro De Leon

    Pharrell is a bit lost in translation here. Ricky Martin has nothing to do with salsa. He's a pop artist. He probably has sung a salsa song or two but just because he was born in Puerto Rico, doesn't mean that he will care about a salsa groove that Pharrell (hopefully lawfully) takes! If grooves became intellectual property then we would not have music as we know it today. The audio or music industry would fall into a smaller industry.

  • mrclean

    He's right. Grooves aren't proprietary.

  • Chad Hugo

    Ol' Kermit the Frog lookin ass nigga,if I didn't want to butt rape you so bad I would expose your secrets....N.O.R.E. knows what I'm talking about.

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