Friday, October 22, 2021

Judge Rules Pharrell Williams Did Not Commit Perjury in ‘Blurred Lines’ Copyright Case

Pharrell Williams, robin thicke, blurred lines

*Pharrell Williams’ “Blurred Lines” controversy with Marvin Gaye’s family is making headlines once more. 

Gaye’s estate previously won its copyright lawsuit over Pharrell and Robin Thicke‘s 2013 hit “Blurred Lines” single, — in which the duo are accused of ripping off Gaye’s “Got to Give It Up.” In 2018, a judge ruled that Williams and Thicke were liable for copyright infringement. In December 2019, Gaye’s family filed a motion in federal court alleging Williams lied under oath in the case.

As reported by EW, the motion points to a November GQ interview in which Williams told producer Rick Rubin he “reverse engineered” Gaye’s tune.

“We try to figure out if we can build a building that doesn’t look the same, but makes you feel the same way,” Williams said of his production process in the interview. “I did that in ‘Blurred Lines,’ and got myself in trouble.”

The Gaye family believes this proves Williams committed perjury during his deposition in the copyright case when he stated: “I did not go in the studio with the intention of making anything feel like, or to sound like, Marvin Gaye.”

READ MORE: Pharrell Williams Teams with Georgia Tech, Amazon to Teach Students Music Coding

On Friday, a California federal judge ruled that Williams’ comments in the interview did not show he committed perjury.

“The statements by Williams during the November 2019 Interview were cryptic and amenable to multiple interpretations,” U.S. District Court Judge John Kronstadt wrote. “For example, it is unclear what Williams meant by ‘reverse-engineer[ing].’ Read in context, Williams statement about ‘reverse-engineering’ could be interpreted as a process in which he remembers his feelings when listening to particular music, and then attempts to recreate those feelings in his own works. This is not inconsistent with his deposition testimony, in which he claimed that he realized after creating ‘Blurred Lines’ that the feeling he tried to capture in the song, was one that he associated with Marvin Gaye.”

“For these reasons, the Gaye Parties have not shown by clear and compelling evidence that there are sufficiently material inconsistencies between Williams’ statements in the November 2019 Interview and his sworn testimony, to support a finding of perjury,” the ruling continues.

During the copyright suit, Judge Kronstadt awarded the Gaye family all future royalties for “Blurred Lines.”

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is a screenwriter and freelance reporter from Chicago -- currently living in Los Angeles and covering A-list entertainment for various outlets, including Emmys.com. She has worked for: Miramax, MTV & VH1, The Jim Henson Company, Hallmark Channel, Paramount Pictures, and for iconic indie film producer Roger Corman.

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