A judge has ruled that Pharrell Williams didn’t commit perjury in his copyright infringement 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 legal battle in a 2019 interview with GQ magazine in which said 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 demanded the judge overseeing the case reconsider the amount of attorneys’ fees to which they are entitled, but Williams fought back, insisting his GQ comments are consistent with evidence he previously gave to the court.
And on Friday, U.S. District Court Judge John Kronstadt ruled that Williams hadn’t committed perjury with the GQ interview.
“The statements by Williams during the November 2019 Interview were cryptic and amenable to multiple interpretations,” Judge Kronstadt wrote. “For example, it is unclear what Williams meant by ‘reverse-engineer(ing).’ Read in context, Williams’ statement about ‘reverse-engineering’ could be interpreted as a process in which he remembers his feelings when listening to particular music, and then attempts to recreate those feelings in his own works. This is not inconsistent with his deposition testimony, in which he claimed that he realised after creating Blurred Lines that the feeling he tried to capture in the song, was one that he associated with Marvin Gaye.
“For these reasons, the Gaye Parties have not shown by clear and compelling evidence that there are sufficiently material inconsistencies between Williams’ statements in the November 2019 Interview and his sworn testimony, to support a finding of perjury.”
Williams has yet to respond to the ruling.