Robin Thicke says he was 'careless' during Blurred Lines copyright case

Canadian-American singer Robin Thicke says he was distracted by his failing marriage and didn't give his 'all' during a copyright infringement lawsuit over his 2013 hit Blurred Lines.

'I was going through personal hell at the time,' said the Canadian-American singer

Robin Thicke performs Get Her Back at the 2014 Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas. The singer admitted that his deposition for the"Blurred Lines case took a backseat to his crumbling marriage, in his first interview since he and Pharrell lost the lawsuit in March. (Steve Marcus/Reuters)

Robin Thicke says the deposition for the Blurred Lines case took a backseat to his crumbling marriage, in his first interview since he and Pharrell lost the lawsuit in March.

In an interview with The New York Times that was posted Wednesday, Thicke says he was "careless" during the deposition, which occurred two weeks after he separated from actress Paula Patton. He and Pharrell were later ordered to pay nearly $7.4 million US to three of Marvin Gaye's children after a jury in Los Angeles determined the performers had copied elements of the R&B icon's 1977 hit Got to Give It Up for Blurred Lines.

"I was going through personal hell at the time. And I was careless in the deposition," Thicke said. "Obviously, I didn't give my all to the trial. It simply wasn't as important to me as what was going on in my personal life. I was lost at the time. I had lost my way."

Thicke told the Times he was surprised they lost the case and "that's why we're appealing. I know the difference between inspiration and theft. I'm constantly inspired, but I would never steal. And neither would Pharrell."

Warns of ripple effect

Singer Pharrell Williams, left, and singer Robin Thicke were ordered to pay nearly $7.4 million US to three of Marvin Gaye's children. (Rick Wilking/Reuters)
Thicke said he couldn't elaborate when answering some of the reporter's questions because of the appeal.

The 38-year-old singer-songwriter said his creative process hasn't changed, despite getting his hand slapped following Blurred Lines, the biggest hit of 2013.

"For me, it will not, it has not, changed my process in any way. But yes, many artists and writers have voiced their concerns to me about this," he said. "And if the verdict holds up, I believe that it will have a ripple effect on the arts and the industry in general."

Some artists, including John Legend, have said the decision in the Blurred Lines case could set a bad precedent for musicians creating songs inspired by others.

When asked about Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars' Uptown Funk! and Sam Smith's Stay With Me — big hits that gave writing credit to older songs after topping the charts — Thicke said he thought those contemporary songs should recognize the past ones.

"It's the same notes, the same cadence — everything's the exact same," he said of Uptown Funk! and Oops Up Side Your Head by the Gap Band. "That's why I think that's a very fair decision."

"Again, those songs are the same," he said of Smith's breakthrough hit and Tom Petty's I Won't Back Down.

"The same notes, on the same timing, in the same rhythm. The two songs are exactly the same."


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?