Blurred Lines – are costs really appropriate the Gayes’ legal team?

April 2016

Music publishing



The claim for $3.5 million in legal costs filed by the Gaye family and their lawyers after winning the ‘Blurred Lines’ plagiarism case may well hit a block in the form of Judge John A Kronstadt who seems less inclined to award costs than might be expected – it was after all Pharell and Thicke who actually started the litigation – seeking a declaration that they HADN’T plagiarised Gaye – only for the Jury to find the opposite.
The Gaye’s attorney, Richard Busch says that the Gaye family’s successful litigation against Williams and Thicke over the ‘copying’ of ‘Got To Give It Up’ on ‘Blurred Lines’ “encourages the meritorious prosecution of copyright claims” but adds that if the Gaye’s have to pay his costs out of their winnings of $5.3 million (reduced by the court from $7.3 million), that will stop said people from taking action, even if meritorious with Busch saying (according to The Hollywood Reporter) : “They gambled and they lost and they should pay the consequences for doing so”.
William and Thicke’s lawyer Howard King countered, saying that awarding legal costs in a case like this would set the dangerous precedent because the case “demarcated the boundaries of copyright law” and because the costs contain some fairly astronomical figures –  including a six figure fee for the one musicologist for the Gayes who would testify that the late soul star’s family had a case.
Judge Kronstadt said that he is  “not persuaded there should be an award of fees”. The judge’s final ruling on the matter is pending.

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