Pharrell breaks silence on ‘Blurred Lines’ verdict
With each passing day, it becomes more and more obvious that the copyright lawsuit between the family of Marvin Gaye and the team behind the Robin Thicke-Pharrell Williams hit “Blurred Lines” is far from over. The family is attempting to have all future sales of the song banned, and the other side is likely beginning their appeals process, but finally one of those found guilty has spoken. Discussing the fallout with The Financial Times, Pharrell made the ruling universal across all art forms, stating, “The verdict handicaps any creator out there who is making something that might be inspired by something else.”
In many ways, this is the crux of the school of thought that says the ruling in question will impact everything from visual design to film because, “Everything that’s around you in a room was inspired by something or someone…if you kill that, there’s no creativity.” This was also what his side attempted to argue in court, that while “Blurred Lines” drew inspiration from the sounds of Marvin Gaye, “They sleep well knowing they didn’t copy the song.”
Williams was not alone in his concern, as producer Harvey Weinsten stated that if similar rulings were in place decades ago, artists like Andy Warhol would not have been able to create, due to how much he and many others drew inspiration directly from the popular culture of the time, Obviously, this raises the far more difficult question of where that blurred line is between inspiration and outright copying, but with the ruling in place, Pharrell paints quite a grim picture of the future.
Perhaps bringing prophecy, Williams said, “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.” It’s hard to brush off such a statement given the implications of the current suit, with the Gaye family attempting to completely stop any future sales of a song they had nothing to do with. Combine that with Lil Wayne attempting to get his album freed from the grips of his soon-to-be-former record label, and it’s clear that 2015 will be a turning point for the music industry in many ways.
In terms of the current $7.3 million dollar bill he’s been hit with, Pharrell did say that there is no definitive plan to appeal as of yet, but it’s likely there is a mountain of pressure from the industry to do so. People from all areas of creative work now feel that the balance of their world has been unsettled, and if the decision holds, those who make art will likely have to contend with endless lawsuits from those that may have inspired their work.