Nashville-based King & Ballow attorney Richard Busch won a $7.4 million judgment for the adult children of the late Marvin Gaye in a copyright-infringement case against singers Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams for plagiarising Gaye's 1977 hit "Got To Give It Up" for their 2013 chart-topper "Blurred Lines."
Busch called an expert who identified eight distinct elements in "Got To Give It Up" that were copied in "Blurred Lines" and, in his closing argument, implored the jury to recognize that Thicke and Williams "took ['Got To Give It Up'] for themselves."
For their part, Thicke and Williams denied ripping off Gaye. Indeed, Thicke said he hardly contributed to the writing process. Williams said he was inspired by the feel of Gaye and the late 70s, but did not copy the song (rapper TI was a third named defendant, but the jury held him harmless).
Interestingly, the jury never actually heard Gaye's recording, because copyright law at the time of its recording did not allow copyrighting of recorded music, so the judge ruled the jury could only hear it as it was registered with the Library of Congress: as sheet music.
Even with such a potential disadvantage, Busch won.
After trial, he said he would immediately file an injunction preventing sales of the Grammy-winning "Blurred Lines."
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