In a hearing on motions in the case yesterday (June 29), federal district court Judge John Kronstadt said he was leaning against Williams’ request for a new trial.
But he called the $1.6 million jury award against the singer and producer “excessive.” The amount represents Williams’ share of profits from the song, which was became a huge hit when it was released in March 2013.
Kronstadt asked both parties to file supporting briefs before he issued a final order.
Kronstadt was the presiding judge in the case. Whatever he rules won’t necessarily end the case. Either said could file appeals.
Lawyer Howard King who represents Williams called a separate $4 million award “grossly excessive.” The amount represents a 50-50 split of publishing revenue. King argued the revenue is closer to $5.7 million.
He said the $1.6 million award against Williams, personally, represented 200 percent of the producer’s profits from the song.
Indicating that he would not grant a new trial, Kronstadt rejected King’s assertion that the jury acted emotionally in the case in disregard of the facts. The judge said the verdict is “supported by the substantial evidence.”
He also called the $4 million award based on publishing profits, reasonable.
Oddly the legal fight began in 2013 when song co-writer Robin Thicke and Williams sued Gaye’s estate, seeking a declaratory judgment that “Blurred Lines” did not infringe on Gaye’s 1977 hit, “Got to Give It Up.”
Thicke and Williams countered that their song merely evoked the era and the feel of Gaye’s music.
The family, Frankie Christian Gaye, Nona Gaye and Marvin Gaye III, counter-sued seeking damages for copyright infringement. Thicke and Williams were found guilty by a federal jury in March 2015.
The Gaye family is also seeking an injunction to prevent the continued “distribution and exploitation” of “Blurred Lines.”
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