News

Pharrell Williams Cleared of Perjury Charges in “Blurred Lines” Lawsuit

Marvin Gaye’s family cited a 2019 GQ interview between Pharrell and Rick Rubin in the case.

On February 12th, the long saga of the 2013 Robin Thicke track “Blurred Lines” finally came to an end. In a California court, United States District Court Judge John Kronstadt ruled that Pharrell Williams did not commit perjury during the 2015 court case regarding the song.

In November 2019, Williams spoke about the song’s creation in an interview with Rick Rubin for GQ. In the interview, Pharrell said that the court’s verdict hurt his feelings, as he didn’t “take anything” from Gaye, calling the track a “reverse-engineering” of Gaye’s music, if anything. The family responded with a court filing accusing him of perjury.

“The statements by Williams during the November 2019 interview were cryptic and amenable to multiple interpretations,” 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,” he continued, “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.”

Thicke, Williams, and T.I. were accused of copyright infringement for lifting elements from Marvin Gaye’s 1977 track “Got to Give it Up.” Previously, the artists were ordered to give up half of the song’s royalties to the Gaye estate and pay a one-time fee of $5.3 million in damages. T.I. was cleared of penalty in 2018.

Eight years after its release, two of the three artists have publicly denounced the song and video. Thicke told the New York Post he’d “lost perspective” on his personal life when making the video. A month before the interview with Rubin, Williams revealed that he’d finally understood the backlash the song initially received.

“I realized that there are men who use that same language when taking advantage of a woman,” he explained. “It doesn’t matter that that’s not my behavior. Or the way I think about things. It just matters how it affects women. And I was like, ‘Got it. I get it. Cool.’ My mind opened up to what was actually being said in the song and how it could make someone feel.

Torry Threadcraft

Torry Threadcraft is a writer who covers music, sports, and culture. You can find his daily ramblings and culinary takes at @dreadcraft.

Share
Published by
Torry Threadcraft

Recent Posts

Director of the ‘Cowboy Bebop’ Anime Says He Turned Off Live-Action Adaptation After Watching One Scene

Shinichirō Watanabe, director of the Cowboy Bebop anime series, slammed its live-action Netflix adaptation, which… Read More

January 30, 2023

Michael Jackson’s Nephew Will Portray Michael Jackson in Forthcoming Biopic

Jaafar Jackson, son of Jermaine Jackson, is set to portray Michael Jackson in forthcoming Antoine… Read More

January 30, 2023

Marvel Studios Has Unveiled Deleted Scenes From ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’

Four deleted scenes from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever have been introduced, including “Outside The Scope” and… Read More

January 30, 2023

Mixtape Monday: CRIMEAPPLE, Gloss Up, KOTA The Friend, Tab Jones, AIME + More

CRIMEAPPLE, Gloss Up, KOTA The Friend, Tab Jones, AIME, and more this Mixtape Monday. CRIMEAPPLE… Read More

January 30, 2023

Questlove Salutes New Lil Yachty Album: “I Love When Artists Pull Off A Good Departure Record”

Following the release of new Lil Yachty album Let's Start Here., Questlove went to Instagram to… Read More

January 30, 2023

Barrett Strong, Motown Artist and Songwriter, Has Died

Barrett Strong, a founding artist of Motown Records with breakthrough single "Money (That's What I… Read More

January 30, 2023