For the first time since being hit with a $7.3 million verdict in the “Blurred Lines” trial, Pharrell Williams has opened up about his thoughts regarding the court’s decision to award the Marvin Gaye estate for similarities based on inspiration and not replication.
“The verdict handicaps any creator out there who is making something that might be inspired by something else,” Williams told The Financial Times. “This applies to fashion, music, design… anything. If we lose our freedom to be inspired, we’re going to look up one day and the entertainment industry as we know it will be frozen in litigation. This is about protecting the intellectual rights of people who have ideas.”
“Everything that’s around you in a room was inspired by something or someone,” Williams added. “If you kill that, there’s no creativity.” In The Financial Times’ story, which looks at the impact of the “Blurred Lines” on the entertainment industry as a whole, producer Harvey Weinstein argues that, in today’s climate, Andy Warhol or Roy Lichtenstein – two artists directly inspired by pop culture – would not be able to create without fear of legal ramifications.
Following the verdict, an attorney for Pharrell and Robin Thicke told Rolling Stone, “They’re firm, rock solid, in the conclusion that they wrote this song independently from the heart and soul with no input from anyone, Marvin Gaye or anyone else. They sleep well knowing they didn’t copy the song.”
Despite the importance of the “Blurred Lines” case industry-wide and the apparent lack of a firm decision between juries, an appeal by Thicke and Williams could just as easily end up reversing the $7.3 million judgment and restoring the creative balance. However, Pharrell tells The Financial Times there are no definitive plans to appeal at this time. “We’re working out our next steps right now,” Williams said.
Williams’ and Thicke’s lawyer, Howard E. King, insinuated the verdict will be challenged, telling Fox Business earlier this month, “We are going to exercise every post-trial remedy we have to make sure this verdict does not stand. We owe it to songwriters around the world to make sure this verdict doesn’t stand.
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