Could Pharrell's 'Happy' Be the Next Target of a Copyright Lawsuit?

Pharrell's Tribute to Ferguson

With a bilingual spoken section, a "hands up, don't shoot" gesture and a very minor introduction featuring heavy strings, Williams refreshed his Despicable Me 2 hit "Happy" with guest accompanists Lang Lang on piano and Hans Zimmer on guitar. He was curiously dressed in a bellhop-like outfit, until he noted at the end of his performance, "As you can see, I'm at your service, Lord."

"I'm not going to lie. I do think they sound alike," says Nona Gaye, Marvin's daughter.

Pharrell Williams could be in for another unhappy legal saga.

Williams and Robin Thicke were found by a Los Angeles jury to have infringed upon the copyright of Marvin Gaye's estate, which had claimed the song "Blurred Lines" plagiarized from Gaye's 1970s single "Got to Give It Up." The duo along with featured rapper T.I. were ordered to pay $7.4 million in damages.

Now, the Gaye family is sounding off on another Williams-helmed megahit, "Happy."

"I'm not going to lie. I do think they sound alike," Nona Gaye, Marvin's daughter, told Entertainment Tonight of Pharrell's "Happy" and Gaye's 1965 song "Ain't That Peculiar." Gaye performed vocals on "Peculiar," which peaked at No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was written by Pete Moore, William "Smokey" Robinson, Bobby Rogers and Marv Tarplin.

Pharrell's 2014 hit was a global smash, selling an estimated 10 million units worldwide, winning the Grammy for best music video, and topping Billboard's year-end Hot 100 songs chart.

Gaye's family isn't considering legal action against Pharrell, yet. "We're not in that space," Nona Gaye said.

Janis Gaye, Marvin's ex-wife, said her family would bask in their most recent legal victory before considering launching another. "We're just in the moment today and we're satisfied," she noted. "I heard the mashups — but I didn't really need to hear them. I know 'Ain't That Peculiar' and I've heard 'Happy.' "

Gaye's family sued Williams, Thicke and  T.I. (aka Clifford Harris Jr.) for infringing the copyright on Gaye's 1977 hit, initially seeking $25 million. 

After eight days of trial testimony, which captured global media attention, a jury on Tuesday ordered that the artists must pay copyright damages to Gaye's estate, plus profits attributable to infringement. Lawyer Howard King, who represents Williams, Thicke and T.I., has since told reporters that he would appeal the $7.4 million verdict.

Hear a mashup of "Happy" and "Ain't That Peculiar" below and let us know what you think.

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