Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams ordered to pay $5 million over Blurred Lines copyright case

The pair lost their appeal in the long-running copyright case.

The copyright case over the hit song Blurred Lines has ended, with the track's creators Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams ordered to pay $5 million (£4m).

The final ruling ends the long-running legal battle that began in 2013, when Marvin Gaye's family claimed Blurred Lines copied Gaye's single Got To Give It Up, a UK Top 10 hit in 1977.

Gaye's family won the case in 2015, but Thicke and Williams appealed. In March this year the verdict was upheld and the settlement has now been confirmed. 

Thicke and Williams' publishing company More Water Water From Nazareth are to jointly pay $2.8m in damages (£2.2m) to Gaye's family, while Thicke has been ordered to pay an additional $1.7m (£1.3m) and Williams another £357,630 (£282,296).

In addition to the damages, Gaye's family will receive 50% of all future royalties earned by Blurred Lines. The track was the UK's biggest single of 2013 and was the fastest seller of the year after shifting nearly 200,000 copies in its first week. To date, it's sold 1.7m copies and been streamed 39.2m times in the UK.

There has been criticism over the verdict due to Blurred Lines copying the "feel" of Gaye's song, rather than direct plagiarism of lyrics.

Recent years have seen several similar cases go to court, including Ed Sheeran's Thinking Out Loud, which is claimed to have copied Gaye's Let's Get It On, written by Ed Townsend. 

The rise in copyright cases has now seen many artists try to pre-empt any potential lawsuits. Ed Sheeran credited the writers of TLC's No Scrubs due to similarities with his single Shape Of You, and Taylor Swift gave Right Said Fred a credit on Look What You Made Me Do due to its similarities to their 1991 single I'm Too Sexy. 

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Rob Parkinson


What a crazy world we live in. Sure pays to be an artist who released songs long ago these days as the chance of somebody creating a song that sounds like yours could earn you loads of cash!