Pharrell Williams is speaking out for the first time since a federal court ruled that he and Robin Thicke owe Marvin Gaye’s estate over $7 million for infringing the copyright of Gaye’s song "Got to Give It Up" with the similarities in their hit single "Blurred Lines."
"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."
"Blurred Lines" was one of the biggest hits of the summer of 2013, generating nearly $17 million in profits, according to court documents. The federal verdict seems to set a legal precedent for copyright infringement, as the songs have different chords and note progression, despite having a similar "feel."
"There was no infringement," Williams protested. "You can’t own feelings and you can’t own emotions...[in music] there are only the notations and the progression. Those were different."
The Gaye family also penned an open letter in the wake of the verdict, thanking fans for their support during the trial.
"We want to extend our deepest appreciation and gratitude for the outpouring of love and support we have received from all of our father’s fans and friends, as well as artists and industry folks who contacted us surrounding the recent events concerning his song, 'Got to Give It Up,'" reads the statement. "Your kindness and encouragement gave us incredible strength and perseverance. We are so incredibly grateful for your support as well as the hard work and dedication of our amazing legal team and experts. We thank you all."
The family also dismissed rumors that they were contemplating further claims against Williams for his hit single "Happy."
"This is 100% false," the family said. "We have absolutely no claim whatsoever concerning 'Happy.'"