By Anthony McCartney
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
LOS ANGELES _ Footage of Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams testifying about the creation of the song “Blurred Lines” that was a key element of a copyright infringement trial earlier this year has been released, showing Thicke repeatedly acknowledging he was drunk and high during interviews promoting 2013’s biggest hit song.
Both men are seen on the footage, which was released Monday, verbally sparring with an attorney for Marvin Gaye’s children, who sued the men for copyright infringement and won a $7.4 million verdict in March. The testimony includes Thicke responding “No” when asked if he considered himself an honest man and Williams refusing to read music for the attorney and telling him, “I’m not here to teach you music.”
While many of the statements made by Williams and Thicke during their 2014 depositions were reported during the trial, video of the men testifying has been unavailable. The copyright infringement trial was not video recorded.
U.S. District Judge John A. Kronstadt ordered the footage released earlier this month, writing that it had been kept under seal to prevent it from influencing potential jurors in the case. The footage, which includes only portions of the deposition played during trial, was filed last week but not publicly released by the court until Monday. The video was posted online by The Hollywood Reporter on Saturday.
The verdict, which Kronstadt later cut to $5.3 million, is being appealed.
Gaye’s heirs claimed “Blurred Lines” copied their father’s hit, “Got to Give It Up,” although lawyers for Thicke and Williams said the newer song merely mimicked the feel of Gaye’s music and didn’t copy it.
“The deposition testimony of the witnesses from the trial is old news,” Howard King, an attorney for Williams and Thicke, wrote in an email. “The songs are still different and we look forward to complete vindication on appeal.”
Attorneys for the Gaye family used the deposition footage to contradict answers the artists gave during their live testimony and to try to show them as being dishonest about the song’s creation.
The testimony reflected especially poorly on Thicke, who scored the biggest hit of his career with “Blurred Lines” and was forced to admit under oath that he didn’t have anything to do with the song’s creation, and he was drunk and high while promoting it.
“With all due respect, I was high and drunk every time I did an interview last year,” Thicke said during his April 2014 deposition. He acknowledged that included lying during an interview with Oprah Winfrey.
He also testified, “When I give interviews, I tell whatever I want to say to help sell records.”
When asked about Thicke’s claims he helped write the music for “Blurred Lines,” Williams said the singer had engaged in a common practice within the industry for someone to embellish their contribution. “What you’re hanging your hat on here, is a guy that wants to perceive that, like, that song … that he had the impetus or genesis for it,” Williams testified, adding that wasn’t true.
Williams is a 10-time Grammy Award winner. Songs that he’s either performed or produced have sold more than 100 million copies worldwide. His hit “Happy” has helped make him a household name, as has his work as a judge on NBC’s singing competition show, “The Voice.”