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Wed 11 Mar 2015 11:59 AM

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Blurred Lines: $7.4m Gaye lawsuit reignites music plagiarism debate

Heirs of the soul singer Marvin Gaye haev won their legal battle against Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams over copyright infringement

Blurred Lines: $7.4m Gaye lawsuit reignites music plagiarism debate

Heirs of the
late soul singer Marvin Gaye won a $7.4 million judgment on Tuesday against
recording stars Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams, who a jury found
plagiarized the Motown artist in the creation of their hit single "Blurred
Lines."

The US District
Court jury in Los Angeles sided with Gaye's estate, finding that parts of his
1977 hit "Got to Give it Up" were lifted by Thicke and Williams for
their 2013 R&B chart-topper.

The jury
awarded Gaye's heirs $4 million in actual damages plus $3.4 million in profits
that Thicke and Williams were found to have derived from their copyright
infringement.

Several other
parties sued by Gaye's estate, the rapper T.I. and various music companies,
were cleared of infringement.

Gaye's
daughter, Nona Gaye, hugged her attorney and wept as the court clerk read the
verdict capping a weeklong trial that explored the boundaries between artistic
inspiration and theft.

"Right now
I feel free, free from, honestly, from Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke's
chains and what they tried to keep on us, and the lies that they told,"
she said.

Neither Thicke nor
Williams was present for the verdict.

Their lawyer,
Howard King, said they were keeping their options open. "It's a lot of
money. It's not going to bankrupt my clients. It's a disappointing
number," he said.

The attorney
for Gaye's heirs, Richard Busch, said they would seek an injunction to halt
further distribution of "Blurred Lines."

The suit cited
magazine interviews given by Thicke in which he admitted drawing on "Got
to Give it Up" when producing and recording "Blurred Lines."

Thicke said
later in sworn statements he was high on painkillers and alcohol when
"Blurred Lines" became a hit and that he exaggerated his contribution
to writing the song.

Thicke sang the
raunchy, percussive dance tune, the biggest US pop song of the summer of 2013,
at that year's MTV Video Music Awards in a provocative performance featuring
pop singer Miley Cyrus.

Williams
acknowledged in court he had been a fan of Gaye's music since childhood, but
said "Blurred Lines" and "Got to Give it Up" were similar
in genre only.

"The last
thing you want to do as a creator is take something of someone else's when you
love him," Williams testified. Gaye, whose hits included "I Heard it
Through the Grapevine," was fatally shot by his father in 1984 at age 44.

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