KEY POINTS

  • A California federal judge ruled Friday that Pharrell Williams did not commit perjury in his "Blurred Lines" case
  • Marvin Gaye's family filed a motion in 2019 alleging Williams' statements in a GQ interview were evidence of perjury 
  • The judge said Williams' statements "were cryptic and amenable to multiple interpretations"

Pharrell Williams did not commit perjury in his "Blurred Lines" copyright lawsuit, a California federal judge ruled Friday.

In 2018, Williams, Robin Thicke and a song publisher were ordered by Judge John A. Kronstadt to pay Marvin Gaye's family nearly $5 million for infringing the copyright to "Got to Give It Up." The following year, Gaye's family filed a motion in federal court alleging that Williams' statements in a GQ interview, in which he talks about the music writing process of "Blurred Lines," were evidence of perjury.

However, the judge has ruled that the singer did not commit perjury during the case, finally putting an end to the legal saga, Entertainment Weekly reported.

"The statements by Williams during the November 2019 Interview were cryptic and amenable to multiple interpretations," wrote Kronstadt.

In the November 2019 GQ interview, Williams said he "reverse engineers" the feeling he gets from listening to music he likes, something that he did while writing "Blurred Lines."

"We try to figure out if we can build a building that doesn't look the same, but makes you feel the same way. I did that in 'Blurred Lines,' and got myself in trouble," Williams said.

Gaye's family argued that this contradicted Williams' statement during his deposition for the "Blurred Lines" case that he "did not go in the studio with the intention of making anything feel like, or to sound like, Marvin Gaye."

According to the judge, however, 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," Kronstadt wrote. "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," the judge added.

Williams will not have to pay Gaye's family the $3.5 million in attorney fees and costs they were seeking.

Meanwhile, Williams will be featured in an upcoming episode of "Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr." The award-winning producer and musician will appear in the new season's seventh episode, titled "Write My Name in the Book of Life," where he will explore his ancestral history.

Pharrell grew up in Virginia Beach and attended Princess Anne High School. He hasn't forgotten his Hampton Roads roots and has been giving back to his hometown. He also founded the successful arts and music festival Something in the Water.

Williams' episode on the PBS show is set to air Tuesday at 8 p.m. EST on WHRO-TV.

Pharrell Williams
Pharrell Williams accepting his Grammy Award at the 2015 show. Reuters
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