U.S. District Court Judge John Kronstadt has ruled that Pharrell Williams didn't commit perjury during an November 2019 interview where he told GQ that he "reversed-enginered" Marvin Gaye's 1977 hit "Got To Give It Up" for he and Robin Thicke's 2013 hit song "Blurred Lines".
As previously reported, Gaye's family alleged that Williams and Robin Thick stole Gaye's song. A judge ultimately found Williams and Thicke liable for copyright infringement and they were forced to give Gaye’s family half of the song’s royalties and a one time payment of $5.3 million in damages. An appeal was filed in 2018 but denied.
A year later, Williams gave an interview with Rick Rubin for GQ where he said he “reversed-engineered” Gaye’s song, which the family later used in a subsequent court filing as evidence of Williams committing perjury in the earlier case.
Now, according to People, Judge Kronstadt ruled Williams didn’t commit perjury, saying, “The statements by Williams during the November 2019 Interview were cryptic and amenable to multiple interpretations. 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."
The judge continued, “This is not inconsistent with his deposition testimony, in which he claimed that he realized 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.”