Pharrell Williams & Robin Thicke Lose $7.4M Verdict For Blurred Lines
A jury awarded Marvin Gaye’s children $7.4 million, determining that Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams copied Gaye’s music to create Blurred Lines. It was the biggest song of 2013, earning over $16 million and counting. Rapper T.I. and the record company were cleared of infringement charges, but not Williams and Thicke. Ironically, the case started with a race to the courthouse in 2013.
That’s right, Pharrell and Thicke started as plaintiffs in August 2013. Their suit attempted to stop Gaye’s family from suing for copyright infringement. However, the suit was thrown out when Gaye’s family showed the two songs were similar. The money at stake is considerable, and so are the reputation issues.
The Los Angeles Times said Blurred Lines earned $5.6 million for Thicke, $5.2 million for Pharrell, another $5 million to $6 million for the record company, and $8 million more in publishing revenue. Gaye’s children, Nona, Frankie and Marvin Gaye III, initially asked for $40 million in damages, but reduced their claim to $25 million.
Sales of Blurred Lines are still going strong, with the notoriety of the trial enhancing the take. That will probably spike again now with the verdict. Although no announcement has been made about an appeal, observers consider it likely. Even after an appeal, it is possible the case could be settled. The revenue streams are big, but it is likely that the Gaye children will think about taxes when they get closer to turning the verdict into cash.
There are several large tax issues, but they start from the premise that virtually everything is taxable. That includes many lawsuit recoveries. But taxable as what, as capital gain or ordinary income? Another question is whether the Gaye children must pay tax on their gross recovery before lawyers fee, or only on their net recovery after fees.
How could they be taxed on their gross, you might ask? If the plaintiff has a contingent fee lawyer, the plaintiff is usually treated (for tax purposes) as receiving 100% of the money, even if the defendant pays the plaintiff’s lawyer his contingent fee directly.
Suppose that the Gaye family settles for $7 million, and that their lawyers’ fee is $3 million. You might think they have $4 million of income. Instead, they have $7 million of income, followed by a $3 million tax deduction. If the deduction is a miscellaneous itemized one as seems likely, the Gaye family faces numerous limitations. They may even be subject to the alternative minimum tax, AMT.
When plaintiffs complain that they are paying tax on money they never received, it is usually because of this rule. There are sometimes ways of getting around or minimizing its impact, but the tax traps can be severe. And they seem unfair.
The question whether a recovery is ordinary income or capital gain matters too. Plaintiffs would rather pay a 20% capital gain tax than a 39.6% ordinary income, even though the capital gain may face the extra 3.8% Obamacare tax. One area ripe for capital gain tax planning is intellectual property cases such as patent, copyright and trade secret cases. Royalties are ordinary income, but when an inventor or creator sells rights, it may be a capital gain.
There is a good deal of line-drawing, including questions over whether someone is a professional that can only collect ordinary income. But sometimes the standards can be forgiving. For example, in Kucera v. Commissioner, an inventor with 21 inventions and several patents was not a professional so was entitled to capital gain treatment. If the Gaye family hope to minimize taxes on their recovery, they will have their work cut out for them.
Pharrell defends Blurred Lines [P goes HAM]
yah i just saw it. I mean that interviewer is a stuck in time, self righteous, easily offended piece of dirt, and I bet he resembles a huge amount of people who have nothing to do other than being offended for the sake of it, as well as sharing their absolutely valueless opinions
P did good in making him look like a caveman mentally.
but why are we still talking about it? lol
I am glad that he touched on it to this detail though, I don't remember him addressing the "I know you want" line
The interviewer sounds like a child though
P's right. People are greatly offended today by the littlest things, compared to their attitudes in the past (in the u.s. at least)
I had a college prof. who said something similar to this saying that people are to damn offensive nowadays.
(As he says>) In his day if you got a bad grade, the teacher would give you an ass crashing (as he says lmao), and he said when you got home you'd
get an even worse ass crashing by both parents just to show that they love you and to get your shit together.
But nowadays if you get a bad grade the teacher would have to get you a therapist, and medically evaluated and would blow the whole thing out of proportion.
P very calmly explained it and the guy just wouldn't except his answer...made him look like a jackass. "I'm the interviewer!"
i'm gonna shy away from this thread because i'm on the interviewer's team all the way. i never thought blurred lines was a huge deal but the way he's handling the criticism is embarrassing. p's talk of the "new black", him "not being able to be a feminist because he's a man" lol, the car sales comparison etc etc... i'm just embarrassed listening to it all. i'm going to pretend this side of him doesn't exist and continue to stan for him
yeah I don't think he convinced many people with those examples...
@Rani I actually thought the car salesmen line was a good comparison but maybe that proves your point. I feel like he definitely read some forum posts cause he was like "im not an activists or trying to be deep or anything, im just a musician, calm down"
Aiden Moffat from the band Belle And Sebastian just wrote an excellent piece in defence of Blurred Lines, Well worth a read. He does a better job of making a clear argument than P, Thicke or Martel have managed.
This is a really good feminist view on it too:
What's even more interesting is that critics completely ignore P's older material haha. I.E. Tape You. They attack Blurred Lines because it did so well. People are so ignorant lol
@mr_novalike pretty much
Feminists can suck my dick. Isn't feminism supposed to be about empowering and educating women to be equals? Most modern day "feminists" spend 90% of their time bashing men and picking arguments over the most pathetic things. I hate them, like actually really hate them.
There are so many double standards too. You never see a feminist telling Beyonce that she needs to represent men more in her songs. You never see a feminist telling usher he should keep his shirt on in music videos and you'll never see a feminist supporting a man who isn't overtly about "the female cause". Fuck them.
@Mavis I have exactly the same view man. Sometimes I feel like I'm fighting a personal crusade against these people so glad someone else has same views as me
I could write pages and pages on this subject. Feminists are not striving for equality, they are looking for dominance. It's all in the name. One that got me recently was who feminists were so loud about equal pay at Wimbledon, but when the subject of playing five sets comes up they all go quiet. They ignore the fact that because Serena plays less sets she can also earn more prize money in doubles. Selective feminism
Another one is the so called equal pay disparity and women in senior roles. It's actually pretty much a complete myth. I'm an investment banker and have worked at four banks: three of them my direct manager and her manager were women on considerable money. My office is probably about a third women not because women are not able, but because they CHOOSE to do jobs such as primary school teaching, nursing etc jobs more in line with their instinct to nurture and care. Most women at my work have no interest in becoming board members and working all hours under sun and prioritise family hence the low numbers at the very top.
Like you Aaron it really angers me. Feminism is pretty much driven by middle class white women. Middle class white women are NOT the oppressed group. How about we talk about the fact that on my floor there are three other blacks and one for them is the cleaner. Yet these feminists have the loudest voice and we must bow to their every whim. Dad's not getting access to their kids, women taking over half a man's wealth at divorce etc
As I said to could go on and on
Nah mikito i didn't read it i just made an off the cuff comment. I'll check it out soon (currently in work and it just said "access to this site is blocked").
@jrcd3000 i'm glad you feel somewhat the same way... however i don't agree with everything you said there haha. Like the thing about equal pay being a myth. I don't know what facts you're basing that on. Equal pay stats are based on different genders in the same roles as one another (for example, female exec vs male exec). So nothing really to do with their choice of job.
Didn't have to read it to know that interviewer and like-minded people are fuckin idiots. Like it was already stated, people are overly sensitive these days and get offended over the smallest of things. If you don't like an artist's work, don't pay it no mind. It isn't ruining anyone's life.
I know some jackass is gonna come in here too saying some shit like, "But you got offended by the interview." I'm not the least bit offended, just amused at how a lot of people react to literally everything.
ha @Mavis I had exactly the same debate with my girlfreind on a long drive today. Women getting paid less than men for the same job has nothing to do with sexism and everything to do with how men tend to me more aggressive when it comes to negotiating and pushing for pay rises. (not always the case i have for sure met some very aggressive and confident women in the workplace!)
A company doesnt give two hoots about whether you are a man or woman, when you negotiating your contract all they are concerned with is paying you as little as they possibly can. The hr department who decides this type of thing doesnt think "oh look a man, better chuck in an extra few grand" lol. (most hr departments are women dominated btw) When it comes to money, profitablity and business they dont give a damn about sex. The more placid or less confrontational you are the less likely you are to get as high pay as an aggresive forthcoming person. It just happens to be that men have the latter personality more often
I do accept however, there is still a legacy from decades ago when there was disparity that still exists today. This is normally found in the very senior positions where someone has been at a company for thirty years or more. It will become less and less over time as women are getting more and more equal. On the whole though, im simply not buying the view that women being paid less for the same job is a result of sexism
Copyright case reveals that Blurred Lines made $16 million for Robin Thicke, Pharrell and T.I. as they battle Marvin Gaye's children in court. According to the federal copyright trial, the two sides have agreed on an exact figure of $16,675,690. That was divided with $5,658,214 going to Thicke, $5,153,457 to Williams, $704,774 to rapper T.I. and record companies pocketing the remainder.
Im wondering how much money Happy did it then :O
as i can see TI's fckd up in this scheme :D