ENTERTAINMENT

Jan Gaye Explains Why Her Family 'Had To' Sue Over 'Blurred Lines'

05/21/2015 11:56 am ET

The lawsuit over "Blurred Lines," which pitted Marvin Gaye's family against the song's hitmakers, was highly publicized, but according to Marvin's ex-wife Jan Gaye, few people truly understand the real reason her family went to trial.

In a HuffPost Live conversation about her new book, After The Dance: My Life With Marvin Gaye, Jan Gaye said it was an initial lawsuit from Pharrell Williams, Robin Thicke and Clifford "T.I." Harris Jr., that forced her family to hit back. Back in 2013, with public accusations of copyright infringement swirling, Thicke, Williams and Harris filed a suit to defend themselves from the controversy -- an unexpected move that caught Gaye off-guard.

"They sued us because they wanted a judge to issue a summary judgment that said that the song was an original song and that it didn't infringe on any other copyright or any other song," she said. "You could have knocked me over with a feather when that came in, when I got that news that they were [pursuing] this suit."

After hearing about the lawsuit, Gaye said her family "had to" countersue. Then when a judge rejected the motion for a summary judgment, there was finally enough evidence for the dispute to go to trial.

"With 'Blurred Lines,' they crossed the line. That's the way we felt," Gaye said.

In March 2015, the court agreed, resulting in more than $7.3 million in damages for Marvin Gaye's family.

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    LONDON - 1964: R&B singer Marvin Gaye holds court at a press conference at Heathrow Airport in circa 1964 as he arrives in London, England. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
  • GAB Archive via Getty Images
    Photo of Marvin GAYE and Tammi TERRELL; Posed portrait of Tammi Terrell and Marvin Gaye (Photo by GAB Archive/Redferns)
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  • Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Images
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  • David Redfern via Getty Images
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  • Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Images
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  • Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Images
    R&B singer Marvin Gaye poses for a portrait in circa 1964 in New York City, New York. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
  • Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Images
    R&B singer Marvin Gaye poses for a portrait in circa 1964 in New York City, New York. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
  • Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Images
    R&B singer Marvin Gaye poses for a portrait backstage at the Apollo Theater with female R&B vocal group 'Martha & The Vandellas' (Betty Kelly, Rosalind Ashford, and Martha Reeves) in 1962 in New York City, New York. (Photo by Don Paulsen/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
  • Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Images
    &B singer Marvin Gaye plays piano at Freedomland Amusement Park in 1964 in Bronx, New York. (Photo by Don Paulsen/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
  • Donaldson Collection via Getty Images
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  • Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Images
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  • Jim Britt via Getty Images
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  • Gilles Petard via Getty Images
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  • Gems via Getty Images
    USA Photo of Marvin GAYE, Portrait of Marvin Gaye, wearing hat (Photo by Gems/Redferns)
  • Jim Britt via Getty Images
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  • GAB Archive via Getty Images
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  • Pictorial Parade via Getty Images
    Headshot of American soul singer Marvin Gaye (1939 - 1984), wearing a knit cap, 1977. (Photo by Pictorial Parade/Getty Images)
  • Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Images
    R&B singer Marvin Gaye poses for a portrait at an event on October 31, Halloween of circa 1977 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
  • Rob Verhorst via Getty Images
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    RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL Photo of Marvin GAYE, Marvin Gaye performing on stage, barechested (Photo by Ebet Roberts/Redferns)
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    ROYAL ALBERT HALL Photo of Marvin GAYE, Marvin Gaye at Royal Albert Hall, London 1979 (Photo by David Corio/Redferns)
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    RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL Photo of Marvin GAYE, Marvin Gaye performing on stage, barechested (Photo by Ebet Roberts/Redferns)
  • Ron Galella via Getty Images
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    Marvin Gaye and children Frankie and Nona (Photo by Betty Galella/WireImage) *** Local Caption ***
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    ROYAL ALBERT HALL Photo of Marvin GAYE, Marvin Gaye at Royal Albert Hall, London 1979 (Photo by David Corio/Redferns)
  • Ed Caraeff via Getty Images
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  • John Minihan via Getty Images
    6th October 1976: American soul singer Marvin Gaye (1939 - 1984) walking ahead of his Rolls Royce in Notting Hill, London. (Photo by John Minihan/Evening Standard/Getty Images)
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