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

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 Lo
    Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Images
    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)
  • Photo of Marvin GAYE and Tammi TERRELL; Posed portrait of Tammi Terrell and Marvin Gaye  (Photo by GAB Archive/Redferns)
    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)
  • Photo of Marvin GAYE, Posed studio portrait of Marvin Gaye  (Photo by Echoes/Redferns)
    Echoes via Getty Images
    Photo of Marvin GAYE, Posed studio portrait of Marvin Gaye (Photo by Echoes/Redferns)
  • R&B singer Marvin Gaye poses for a portrait leaning against a mo-ped scooter in circa 1967. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/G
    Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Images
    R&B singer Marvin Gaye poses for a portrait leaning against a mo-ped scooter in circa 1967. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
  • Soul singer Marvin Gaye enjoys an ice cream cone as he strolls down the boardwalk in circa 1965 in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
    Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Images
    Soul singer Marvin Gaye enjoys an ice cream cone as he strolls down the boardwalk in circa 1965 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
  • Photo of Marvin GAYE, Marvin Gaye performing on tv show  (Photo by David Redfern/Redferns)
    David Redfern via Getty Images
    Photo of Marvin GAYE, Marvin Gaye performing on tv show (Photo by David Redfern/Redferns)
  • R&B singer Marvin Gaye poses for a portrait in circa 1964 in New York City, New York. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty I
    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)
  • R&B singer Marvin Gaye poses for a portrait in circa 1964 in New York City, New York. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty I
    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)
  • R&B singer Marvin Gaye poses for a portrait in circa 1964 in New York City, New York. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty I
    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)
  • R&B singer Marvin Gaye poses for a portrait backstage at the Apollo Theater with female R&B vocal group 'Martha & The Vandell
    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)
  • &B singer Marvin Gaye plays piano at Freedomland Amusement Park in 1964 in Bronx, New York. (Photo by Don Paulsen/Michael Och
    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)
  • Soul singer Marvin Gaye poses for a portrait on June 5, 1963 in New York City, New York. (Photo by PoPsie Randolph/Michael Oc
    Donaldson Collection via Getty Images
    Soul singer Marvin Gaye poses for a portrait on June 5, 1963 in New York City, New York. (Photo by PoPsie Randolph/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
  • (L-R) Charles Barksdale, Marvin Gaye, James Nolan, Reese Palmer, Chester Simmons, and Harvey Fuqua (seated) of the doo wop gr
    Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Images
    (L-R) Charles Barksdale, Marvin Gaye, James Nolan, Reese Palmer, Chester Simmons, and Harvey Fuqua (seated) of the doo wop group 'The Moonglows' pose for a portrait in 1959. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
  • Soul singer and songwriter Marvin Gaye at Golden West Studios in 1973 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jim Britt/Michael
    Jim Britt via Getty Images
    Soul singer and songwriter Marvin Gaye at Golden West Studios in 1973 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jim Britt/Michael Ochs Archive/Getty Images)
  • Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye around a microphone at the Motown recording studio in Detroit in 1965 in the United States. (Ph
    Gilles Petard via Getty Images
    Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye around a microphone at the Motown recording studio in Detroit in 1965 in the United States. (Photo by Gilles Petard/Redferns)
  • USA  Photo of Marvin GAYE, Portrait of Marvin Gaye, wearing hat  (Photo by Gems/Redferns)
    Gems via Getty Images
    USA Photo of Marvin GAYE, Portrait of Marvin Gaye, wearing hat (Photo by Gems/Redferns)
  • Soul singer and songwriter Marvin Gaye at Golden West Studios in 1973 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jim Britt/Michael
    Jim Britt via Getty Images
    Soul singer and songwriter Marvin Gaye at Golden West Studios in 1973 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jim Britt/Michael Ochs Archive/Getty Images)
  • Photo of Marvin GAYE; Marvin Gaye portrait  (Photo by GAB Archive/Redferns)
    GAB Archive via Getty Images
    Photo of Marvin GAYE; Marvin Gaye portrait (Photo by GAB Archive/Redferns)
  • Headshot of American soul singer Marvin Gaye (1939 - 1984), wearing a knit cap, 1977. (Photo by Pictorial Parade/Getty Images
    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)
  • R&B singer Marvin Gaye poses for a portrait at an event on October 31, Halloween of circa 1977 in Los Angeles, California. (P
    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)
  • Marvin Gaye performs on stage at De Doelen, Rotterdam, Netherlands, 1st July 1980. (Photo by Rob Verhorst/Redferns)
    Rob Verhorst via Getty Images
    Marvin Gaye performs on stage at De Doelen, Rotterdam, Netherlands, 1st July 1980. (Photo by Rob Verhorst/Redferns)
  • RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL  Photo of Marvin GAYE, Marvin Gaye performing on stage, barechested  (Photo by Ebet Roberts/Redferns)
    Ebet Roberts via Getty Images
    RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL Photo of Marvin GAYE, Marvin Gaye performing on stage, barechested (Photo by Ebet Roberts/Redferns)
  • ROYAL ALBERT HALL  Photo of Marvin GAYE, Marvin Gaye at Royal Albert Hall, London 1979  (Photo by David Corio/Redferns)
    David Corio via Getty Images
    ROYAL ALBERT HALL Photo of Marvin GAYE, Marvin Gaye at Royal Albert Hall, London 1979 (Photo by David Corio/Redferns)
  • RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL  Photo of Marvin GAYE, Marvin Gaye performing on stage, barechested  (Photo by Ebet Roberts/Redferns)
    Ebet Roberts via Getty Images
    RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL Photo of Marvin GAYE, Marvin Gaye performing on stage, barechested (Photo by Ebet Roberts/Redferns)
  • Marvin Gaye (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
    Ron Galella via Getty Images
    Marvin Gaye (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
  • MOWTOWN 25: YESTERDAY, TODAY, FOREVER -- Pictured: Marvin Gaye -- Photo by: NBCU Photo Bank
    NBC via Getty Images
    MOWTOWN 25: YESTERDAY, TODAY, FOREVER -- Pictured: Marvin Gaye -- Photo by: NBCU Photo Bank
  • Marvin Gaye and children Frankie and Nona (Photo by Betty Galella/WireImage) *** Local Caption ***
    Betty Galella via Getty Images
    Marvin Gaye and children Frankie and Nona (Photo by Betty Galella/WireImage) *** Local Caption ***
  • ROYAL ALBERT HALL  Photo of Marvin GAYE, Marvin Gaye at Royal Albert Hall, London 1979  (Photo by David Corio/Redferns)
    David Corio via Getty Images
    ROYAL ALBERT HALL Photo of Marvin GAYE, Marvin Gaye at Royal Albert Hall, London 1979 (Photo by David Corio/Redferns)
  • Soul singer Marvin Gaye plays in a celebrity basketball game at The Forum for The Soulville Foundation in August, 1977 in Ing
    Ed Caraeff via Getty Images
    Soul singer Marvin Gaye plays in a celebrity basketball game at The Forum for The Soulville Foundation in August, 1977 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Ed Caraeff/Getty Images)
  • 6th October 1976:  American soul singer Marvin Gaye (1939 - 1984) walking ahead of his Rolls Royce in Notting Hill, London.
    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)