Ed Sheeran arrives for his copyright infringement trial at Manhattan Federal Court

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Ed Sheeran Wins Copyright Infringement Lawsuit Over Marvin Gaye's 'Let's Get It On'

  /  05.04.2023

Ed Sheeran has been found not liable in a copyright infringement lawsuit.

A Manhattan federal jury on Thursday found that Sheeran did not copy Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On” for his 2014 single “Thinking Out Loud.” It reached the unanimous verdict after just under three hours of deliberations, finding that Sheeran had created his song independently.

The trial, which lasted over two weeks, stemmed from a 2017 lawsuit filed by the heirs of Ed Townsend, who co-wrote the Gaye classic. It claimed that Sheeran’s Grammy-winning hit has “striking similarities” and “overt common elements” to Gaye’s 1973 record.

“I’m obviously very happy with the outcome of the case and it looks like I’m not having to retire from my day job after all,” Sheeran told reporters outside the courthouse. “But at the same time, I’m unbelievably frustrated that baseless claims like this are allowed to go to court at all.”

Sheeran stood up and hugged his lawyers when the verdict was read before walking over to Kathryn Griffin Townsend, Townsend’s daughter, and hugging her. According to The New York Times, the two spoke briefly.

Townsend said she respected the jury’s decision and was defending her father’s legacy. “I stood up for my father’s intellectual properties,” she said. “I was up against an army.”

She also said that Sheeran had invited her to a show on his tour. “If we had been able to just talk,” she said, “we wouldn’t be here today.”

During the trial, video footage showed Sheeran mashing up the two songs during his Zurich concert, which Townsend’s lawyer Ben Crump described as a “confession” that he was violating copyrights.

“If I’d done what you’re accusing me of doing, I’d be an idiot to stand on stage in front of 20,000 people [and do that],” Sheeran said in response to the allegations. “It is my belief that most pop songs are built on building blocks that have been freely available for 100s of years.”

While taking the stand earlier in the week, Sheeran also threatened to quit music if found liable.

“If that happens, I’m done, I’m stopping,” he said while addressing the toll the trial has taken on him. “I find it really insulting to devote my whole life to being a performer and a songwriter and have someone diminish it.”

On Friday, Sheeran is set to release his new album Subtract.

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