Pharrell Williams has defended himself against allegations of perjury relating to his copyright infringement legal battle over his Robin Thicke collaboration Blurred Lines.
The two artists were sued by Marvin Gaye’s heirs in 2015, claiming they copied the late singer’s 1977 track Got to Give It Up for Blurred Lines.
Williams and Thicke denied the accusations, but they lost the case, and the Motown legend’s estate officials were initially awarded a massive $7.4 million (£5.6 million) reward, before it was later reduced to $5.3 million (£4 million).
Williams opened up about the high-profile fight in an interview with GQ magazine published in early November (19), in which he told revered producer Rick Rubin that when he finds a song he likes, he “reverse engineers” the feeling he gets from listening to that tune.
“I did that in Blurred Lines and got myself in trouble,” he admitted.
Gaye’s relatives jumped on the remark, arguing it proves Williams perjured himself after previously declaring of the creation of Blurred Lines, “I did not go in the studio with the intention of making anything feel like, or to sound like, Marvin Gaye.”
The Gayes are demanding the judge overseeing the case reconsiders the amount of attorneys’ fees to which they are entitled, but now Williams is fighting back, explaining his GQ comments are consistent with evidence he previously gave to the court.
“In his interview, Williams said that in his creative process, he often ‘reverse engineers’ a song to ‘figure out where the emotional mechanism is in there’ – but he never said that he ‘reverse engineered’ Got to Give it Up to compose Blurred Lines, or that he entered the studio with the intent to make a song that sounds or feels like Marvin Gaye,” his attorneys write in the brief filed in Los Angeles on Friday (31Jan20), according to The Hollywood Reporter.
“While Williams did say that the ‘feeling’ of Blurred Lines turned out to be so reminiscent of Got to Give it Up that some listeners felt the songs sounded the same, he also specifically stated, as he did at trial, that he had no intent to copy the elements – melody, chords, and lyrics – of the song.
“The factual predicate for the Gayes’ motion therefore fails because his recent interview does not show perjury.”