Marvin Gaye Family Reacts to 'Blurred Lines' Verdict

Late musician's relatives seemed to extend an invitation to a courtroom nemesis.

ByABC News
March 11, 2015, 7:46 AM

— -- The family of late musician Marvin Gaye is hopeful for harmony.

A Los Angeles jury Tuesday awarded the musician’s relatives more than $7.3 million in damages -- a cut of the profits from the 2013 smash hit “Blurred Lines,” which was found to have copied parts of Gaye’s 1977 hit “Got to Give it Up.”

The decision capped a lengthy legal battle between Gaye’s family and the creators of “Blurred Lines,” Pharrell Williams, Robin Thicke and Clifford Harris, the rapper known as T.I. Under the ruling, Williams will pay about $1.6 million and Thicke will pay about $1.77 million. The jury ruled Harris -- who received a co-songwriting credit for “Blurred Lines” -- did not infringe on the Gaye copyright.

Jan Gaye, the singer’s ex-wife, said in an exclusive interview with ABC News that she hopes the sides can mend fences.

“We want to put together a tribute show, and maybe Pharrell will want to show up and participate,” she said, speaking inside the same studio where her former husband recorded his classic song.

Gaye’s family was present through the 10-day trial, which centered around the two songs’ similarities. Both Williams and Thicke testified that while the songs are similar in feel, “Blurred Lines” didn’t copy Gaye’s work outright. Thicke even performed an impromptu medley of hits in the courtroom to show how pop songs can share melodies without being rip-offs.

The “Blurred Lines” performers were not in court Tuesday. They later released a joint statement from Thicke’s representatives: "While we respect the judicial process, we are extremely disappointed in the ruling made today, which sets a horrible precedent for music and creativity going forward. 'Blurred Lines' was created from the heart and minds of Pharrell, Robin and T.I. and not taken from anyone or anywhere else. We are reviewing the decision, considering our options and you will hear more from us soon about this matter."

One of the lawyers for the Gaye family, Richard Busch, said the case was not about songwriting inspiration, it was about copying.

“It speaks volumes about who we are as a country that, no matter who you are, if you do something wrong there are consequences,” Busch said.

Gaye, who rose to fame on the Motown Records label during the 1960s, showcased his musicality and social awareness with the concept albums “What’s Going On” and “Let’s Get It On,” and continued evolving as a musician until his death in 1984.

The dispute over “Blurred Lines” began in 2013, when Thicke, Williams and Harris initially filed a lawsuit against the Gaye family to defend themselves against a public accusation that they stole parts of "Got to Give It Up." Later that year, the Gaye family counter-sued. Then, in 2014, a judge sided with Gaye's loved ones, ruling that their musicological experts provided sufficient evidence for the case to go to trial.

After the verdict was reached, Gaye’s family was openly emotional outside the courthouse.

“The jury up there, they didn’t have to go our way,” said Nona Gaye, the singer’s daughter. “They copied ‘Got to Give it Up’ and [the jury] heard it! Which was very important. They heard it, you know. It wasn’t just us.”

Jan Gaye was thankful about the trial’s outcome.

“It’s gratifying, I just felt filled,” she said.