Exploring Ed Sheeran’s plagiarism lawsuit as he wins copyright case

Ed Sheeran received a significant legal victory on Thursday after a jury determined that he did not plagiarize Marvin Gaye’s Let’s Get It On in his 2014 song, Thinking Out Loud.

The heirs of composer Ed Townsend had filed a complaint in New York, claiming that his song Thinking Out Loud draws too many elements from Let’s Get It On.

Furthermore, the plaintiffs also wanted Sheeran to stop performing Thinking Out Loud. They also intend to profit and recover damages from the song. This isn’t Sheeran’s first plagiarism lawsuit as two months ago, two California songwriters sued Sheeran for $20 million over his hit song Photograph.

However, after a tenuous battle, Sheeran finally won the lawsuit, proving that he hasn’t plagiarized any song.

Ed Sheeran wins plagiarism case for his song Thinking Out Loud 

Ed Sheeran after he emerged victorious in the case
Ed Sheeran after he emerged victorious in the case (Image via Getty Images)

Edward Christopher Sheeran is a very popular singer-songwriter from England. + (“Plus”), the debut album by Ed Sheeran, was released in September 2011. Moreover, it featured The A Team, his first number-one single. Sheeran also received the Brit Awards for British Breakthrough Act in 2012 and Best British Male Solo Artist.

Recently, Sheeran was accused of stealing American singer-songwriter Marvin Gaye’s Let’s Get It On for Thinking Out Loud. Gaye’s song was co-written by late musician Ed Townsend, whose heirs filed a lawsuit in 2017. Amy Wadge co-wrote Thinking Out Loud, but she was not named in the lawsuit.

This isn’t Ed Sheeran‘s first appearance in court to defend his music, though. He previously won two legal battles over his songs Photographs and Shape of You, respectively. Following the verdict of his recent case, the musician also criticized the lawsuit.

The Let’s Get It On plagiarism trial began in federal court in Manhattan on Wednesday. There, for a week, singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran claimed that his 2014 hit, Thinking Out Loud, does not replicate Marvin Gaye’s 1973 masterpiece.

The jury resumed the case on Thursday morning. This case asked, in essence, whether a song’s chord pattern and harmonic rhythm, or groove, can be stolen. But, before they could begin deliberating on the fascinating case, Georgy Girl came into the equation.

According to Sheeran’s expert musicologist, the soulful Let’s Get It On by Townsend, Sheeran’s earnest Thinking Out Loud, and the carefree, silly Australian import Georgy Girl, all share the same groove.

Both sides disputed the popular pop song in court. On one hand, Sheeran was observing the entire case from the defense table. On the other hand, the heirs of Let’s Get It On co-composer Ed Townsend watched from the plaintiff’s table.

Moreover, Sheeran’s lawyer highlighted how the arrangement of the common chords in the song was used by numerous musicians during the closing argument. Attorneys also claimed that there were no melodic or pitch similarities and that the songs were very different.

However, Ben Crump, Townsend’s lawyer, said that Sheeran’s notoriety and connections could cause people to ignore his wrongdoings. Crump also described how Townsend’s legal team prepared the case for so many years.

Furthermore, Sheeran also criticized the plaintiff’s music expert, calling him a “horrible depiction” of Thinking Out Loud.

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