June 03, 2015

In this article, Jenner & Block Partner Robert L. Byman examines the recent copyright case between Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke and heirs to Marvin Gaye.  At issue was a dispute over whether Williams and Thicke’s 2013 hit “Blurred Lines” improperly infringed on Gaye’s 1977 hit “Got To Give It Up.”  Ultimately, the jury ruled in favor of Gaye’s heirs, with Williams and Thicke ordered to pay more than $7 million in damages.  “But while the verdict is highly controversial, perhaps it doesn’t so much make new law as prove old truths — this may merely have been a prime-time example in which a jury ruled for the more sympathetic party. Experienced trial lawyers know that cases are won on that simple premise — likeability equals credibility,” the authors observe.  Mr. Byman co-authored the article with former associate Olivia T. Luk.