Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke's 2013 hit song, "Blurred Lines," is at the center of a legal battle that's nearing its conclusion. Members of Marvin Gaye's family claim in a lawsuit that Thicke and Williams infringed on a copyright of their father's 1977 song, "Got to Give It Up."
The copyright issues the jury will have to untangle are confusing, but there's also been plenty of levity in the court proceedings, which have so far included a piano performance by Thicke and the singer's admission that he was high on Vicodin while promoting "Blurred Lines."
Austin Siegemund-Broka is covering the trial for the Hollywood Reporter. The Frame's host John Horn spoke with Siegemund-Broka to get the latest on the trial:
It sounds as if closing arguments could happen very soon. Are there still some witnesses who might be called to testify?
It's highly likely the closing arguments will happen today... It's likely they'll call witnesses including Robin's manager, essentially even Robin himself, who was in court yesterday, although nobody would confirm if he's going to testify again.
On Pharrell Williams' testimony:
Pharrell is saying it's essentially impossible not to be influenced by the '70s Motown sound when creating popular music. It's an incredibly influential period of music and it's inspired dance and pop and everything for the past 30 years. However, his contention — and that of his legal team — is that that's definitely not the same thing as copying the actual songwriting of Marvin Gaye. So he openly admits to feeling that Motown sound, but doesn't think that constitutes infringement.
So much of the finances of the music industry are secret. What have we learned about the dollars in the music business, particularly as they relate to this song?
We have learned some highly unusual information. [It's] very rare figures like the earnings of a song and the earnings of the performers and artists who created it actually come out. But, a couple days ago, in a joint accounting statement agreed upon by both side's attorneys — which essentially means they agree it's correct — financials came out for what the various parties earned for the sale of "Blurred Lines," which was ... almost $17 million.