The legal saga between Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams versus Marvin Gaye's estate continues as a judge has rejected the defendants' call for a new trial in the battle over "Blurred Lines," the bestselling song of 2013.
Thicke and Williams, the primary songwriters behind the song, were sued by the soul singer's estate regarding similarities between "Blurred Lines" and the latter's "Got To Give It Up." A jury ruled during March that the plaintiffs were correct and passed down a $7.4 million penalty against the artists behind the newer track. Those two have looked to get the decision reversed and had requested a new trial, arguing that the jury was given faulty instructions—in short, it was initially ruled that comparisons could only be based on sheet music alone, so the two songs could be played on a piano in the court room, but the jury could not listen to the actual singles for comparison. However a mashup of the two was played during the trial, which the defendants claim violated the earlier rulings. The pair also argue that the testimony given by a musicologist during the lawsuit was "improper."
U.S. District Judge John Kronstadt has ruled against both of those arguments and rejected the call for a new trial. There is some good news for the defendants however: The total owed by Thicke and Williams has been slashed from $7.4 million to $5.3 million. Most of that comes out of Williams' debt, as his payment is now down from $1.6 million to $358,000. The judge also rejected the Gaye family's call for an injunction, removing the song from digital retailers. That said, they still receive 50 percent of the royalties from here on out.
The real losers from the recent ruling may be record labels such as Interscope and Star Trak, which Kronstadt found liable for distribution of the offending song, and therefore subject to fines as well. Stay tuned.