Ed Sheeran is facing yet another copyright lawsuit and is headed for another courtroom trial after a judge ruled that his 2014 hit ‘Thinking Out Loud’ is copied from Marvin Gaye's 1973 single ‘Let's Get It On.’
Ed Sheeran faces another copyright lawsuit over claims that he copied a Marvin Gaye classic ‘Let’s Get It On’
According to Entertainment Weekly, Sheeran's lawyers had tried to have the case dismissed, arguing that the alleged similarities (in chord progression and harmonic rhythm) are not copyrightable, but the plaintiffs argue that the specific combination of those elements is legally protected. Judge Louis Stanton has now ruled this debate has to be settled by a jury trial.
"The law does not support Sheeran's contention that the combination of LGO's chord progression and harmonic rhythm is insufficiently original to warrant it copyrightable," the judge wrote. "There is no bright-line rule that the combination of two unprotectable elements is insufficiently numerous to constitute an original work."
The claim over ‘Thinking Out Loud’ was originally lodged in 2018 by a company called Structured Asset Sales (SAS), which acquired a portion of the estate of Ed Townsend, who co-wrote ‘Let’s Get It On’. It sought $100m (£90m) in damages, alleging that Sheeran and his co-writer Amy Wadge “copied and exploited, without authorisation or credit,” the 1973 Gaye song, “including but not limited to the melody, rhythms, harmonies, drums, bass line, backing chorus, tempo, syncopation and looping”.
Now the civil trial is set to take place in Manhattan at an unannounced date. This isn't the first time Sheeran is facing a copyright lawsuit. In 2017, he settled a lawsuit over the track ‘Photograph,’ and earlier this year he won a plagiarism lawsuit in the United Kingdom over his chat topping song ‘Shape of You.’
"Whilst we're obviously happy with the result, I feel like claims like this are way too common now and we've become a culture where a claim is made with the idea that settlement will be cheaper than taking it to court, even if there is no base to the claim," Sheeran said in a video to fans after the "Shape of You" victory. "It's really damaging to the songwriting industry."
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