Because no one lets go of $7.3 million that easily, according to The Hollywood Reporter attorneys representing Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams plan to appeal the decision that ordered the duo to play millions of dollars to the family of the late Marvin Gaye. A federal jury handed down the decision Tuesday, saying that the duo had infringed on Gaye’s copyright—legalese for “ripped him off”—on when they composed their 2013 hit “Blurred Lines,” a similarity that went unnoticed in the studio because, as they testified at trial, Williams is a lifelong Motown fan who lives and breathes Marvin Gaye bass lines and Thicke was busy popping Vicodin at the time.
Shortly thereafter, Gaye’s family said they would move to temporarily halt sales of the song, dealing a potentially crippling blow to Williams’ hat budget for the third quarter of 2015. Their honor and, more importantly, their cash flow under attack, the duo is now going on the defensive. “We owe it to song writers around the world to make sure this verdict doesn’t stand,” Thicke and Williams’ attorney Howard King says. “My clients know that they wrote the song ‘Blurred Lines’ from their hearts and souls and no other source.”
Actually, some musicologists and attorneys have come forward to defend Thicke and Williams, saying that while the songs sound similar, they’re structurally quite different. The verdict in this case was reached based on the idea that Thicke and Williams had copied the “feel” of the song, a vague idea that some say sets a dangerous precedent that might see, oh, The Red Hot Chili Peppers writing checks to Tom Petty every month, or Kelly Clarkson doing community service for her various musical crimes. “Pharrell has readily admitted that Marvin Gaye is one of his idols, but it’s silk and rayon,” King adds. “If this is the way the law is going to go, then the creator of rayon better look behind him for lawsuits from the owners of silk, because, even though they feel the same they are structurally, completely different just like these songs.”