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Blurred Lines legal team request retrial in landmark plagiarism case

By | Published on Tuesday 5 May 2015

Robin Thicke

Here we go then. Legal reps for Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams have requested a retrial in the ‘Blurred Lines’ case because, well, duh, of course they have.

As previously reported, back in March the rape-pop twosome were ordered to pay the family of Marvin Gaye a smooth $7.3 million for totally ripping off the late soul star’s song ‘Got To Give It Up’ in their hit ‘Blurred Lines’. But lawyers for Thicke and Williams want their clients’ legal battle with the Gaye family reconsidered anew, because the duo clearly didn’t rip off anyone, and were merely lightly inspired by the Marvin Gaye record.

As expected, the claim for a second trial hones in on the copyright technicalities that were part of the legal dispute from the off, ie that only the sheet music of ‘Got To Give It Up’ was protected by copyright, not any additional elements that feature in Gaye’s recording of the song (the case being about the song not the record). Despite the Gaye family’s reps disputing that claim, ahead of the trial the judge concurred with the Williams/Thicke interpretation of American copyright law.

Yet it did seem that, once the court hearing was underway, the judge wasn’t especially strict in ensuring that copyright point was adhered too. Meaning, says the Williams/Thicke legal team, “prejudicial and irrelevant” statements were allowed in court which swung the jury hearing the case, who couldn’t be expected to hone in exclusively on the core compositions of the two songs when distracted by other matters.

New legal papers from the Williams/Thicke team – as well as asking for a new trial – also question the level at which damages were set, pointing out that the musicologist on their team said that at most there was a 5% crossover between ‘Blurred Lines’ and ‘Got To Give It Up’.

Judge John Kronstadt will consider the new legal claims at a hearing on 29 Jun.