When megaproducers Pharrell and Rick Rubin sat down together to discuss their music-making process, who would’ve known select comments made by Pharrell during their conversation last month would land him in legal trouble once again.
In 2018, a jury awarded Marvin Gaye’s estate $5 million after ruling that Pharrell and Robin Thicke plagiarized the iconic soul singer’s classic track “Got to Give it Up” in creation of their 2013 single “Blurred Lines.” Pharrell expressed that he was disappointed with the ruling because he asserted he would never steal from anyone.
Rubin expresses that Pharrell made a “technical” move and that the two songs are nothing alike. Pharrell agreed and added, “But the feeling was.” Pharrell also mentioned that he often “reverse engineers” an original song to create his own and stated that he did the same with creating “Blurred Lines.”
However, once the Gaye family caught wind of the interview, they immediately pointed out inconsistencies and will be bringing them to light in court. The family now accuses Pharrell of perjury and fraud because in court he stated, “I did not go in the studio with the intention of making anything feel like, or to sound like, Marvin Gaye.” In legal documents obtained by Variety, Gaye’s estate names the interview with Rubin as proof that Pharrell was less than truthful.
“Williams made intentional, material misrepresentations to the jury and this Court as part of an unconscionable scheme to improperly influence the jury and the Court in their decisions,” the court documents read. “Nothing was more central to this case than whether ‘Got to [Give It Up]’ or Marvin Gaye was on Williams’s mind while he was engaged in creating ‘Blurred [Lines].’ That fact was central to the issue of whether Williams and Thicke illegally copied ‘Got To’ and whether their copying was willful, and they knew it.”
The family is seeking to have Pharrell cover their $3.5 million in attorney fees if the judge rules in their favor.