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Pharrell Williams: “Blurred Lines” Verdict “Handicaps any creator”

Pharrell Williams in “Come Get It Bae” I Am Other/Columbia Records

Producer Pharrell Williams has broken his silence following the verdict to the highly publicized “Blurred Lines” lawsuit against Marvin Gaye’s estate. As expected, he told The Financial Times that he and Thicke’s creation of “Blurred Lines” was inspiration, not replication.  As expected, he explains his point and defense by essentially saying that creativity is built off of the same inspiration that lead to he T.I., and Thicke making their controversial hit.

“The verdict handicaps any creator out there who is making something that might be inspired by something else,” Williams told The Financial Times. “This applies to fashion, music, design… anything. If we lose our freedom to be inspired, we’re going to look up one day and the entertainment industry as we know it will be frozen in litigation. This is about protecting the intellectual rights of people who have ideas.”

“Everything that’s around you in a room was inspired by something or someone,” Williams added. “If you kill that, there’s no creativity.”

Williams’ quotes come from The Financial Times feature story about the verdict’s potential impact on the entertainment industry as a whole. In fact, film producer Harvey Weinstein argues that if artists who were inspired by pop culture in the past, like Andy Warhol or Roy Lichtenstein, had to abide by the precedent set by the “Blurred Lines” verdict, they wouldn’t be able to do the art they were so famous for without fear of legal ramifications.

Following the verdict, an attorney for Pharrell and Robin Thicke told Rolling Stone, “They’re firm, rock solid, in the conclusion that they wrote this song independently from the heart and soul with no input from anyone, Marvin Gaye or anyone else. They sleep well knowing they didn’t copy the song.”

In an open letter “from the children of Marvin Gaye,” the singer’s family says that Gaye would have supported their decision to seek justice in the “Blurred Lines” trial. “If [Gaye] were alive today, we feel he would embrace the technology available to artists and the diverse music choices and spaces accessible to fans who can stream a song at a moment’s notice,” the Gaye children wrote. “But we also know he would be vigilant about safeguarding the artist’s rights. He also gave credit where credit is due.”