A US jury concluded on Thursday that British pop sensation Ed Sheeran did not copy Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On” while writing his 2014 smash “Thinking Out Loud.”
According to an AFP reporter inside the Manhattan federal courtroom, Sheeran got up and gave his team a big hug when jurors decided that he “independently” wrote his song.
The claim that Sheeran’s song unlawfully appropriated harmonic progressions and rhythmic components from the classic made famous by Gaye was made in the case brought forth by the heirs of Gaye co-writer Ed Townsend.
The heirs demanded a cut of the money made from Sheeran’s song.
The 32-year-old Sheeran sang a number of songs while testifying in the legal case.
The English musician testified that he writes the majority of his songs in a single day. He also mentioned that he regularly collaborates with singer-songwriter Amy Wadge on songs, and they co-wrote “Thinking Out Loud” together.
In February 2014, the two collaborated on “Thinking Out Loud” in Sheeran’s house, he claimed.
According to US media, Sheeran stated, “We sat guitar to guitar.” “We collaborated on a lot of writing.”
The jury’s mission was to determine if Sheeran’s song and Gaye’s classic are essentially the same and whether any similarities are covered by copyright laws.
Boyz II Men had previously performed mash-ups of the two songs, and Sheeran had also combined the songs live. These facts were brought up by Townsend’s family.
Sheeran’s team refuted the claims, stating that “there are dozens, if not hundreds of songs that predate and postdate” Gaye’s song and “utilizing the same or similar chord progression.”
According to court records from a musicologist hired by the defense, the four-chord pattern was utilized in a number of songs before Gaye’s smash single from 1973 was released.
Members of the industry closely monitored the copyright litigation since it might have established a precedent for songwriters’ works to be protected and opened the door to legal challenges elsewhere.
It was Sheeran’s second trial in a year. In a case involving his song “Shape of You,” Sheeran successfully testified in court in London in April, arguing that it was an example of copyright litigation gone too far. He won the case.
When it was published, Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud” rocketed up the Billboard Hot 100 charts in America and earned him the 2016 Grammy Award for Song of the Year.
In 2016, Gaye’s family, who is not a party to the New York lawsuit against Sheeran, successfully sued Robin Thicke, Pharrell Williams, and T.I. over similarities between the song “Blurred Lines” and Gaye’s “Got to Give it Up.” There have been a ton of similar copyright trials in recent years.