Jury hears Ed Sheeran copyright infringement case

Jury hears Ed Sheeran copyright infringement case


The jury on Thursday concluded that the British singer Ed Sheeran did not steal key components to Marvin Gaye’s classic 1970s tune “let’s get started” when he created his hit “Thinking Out Loud”.

A verdict was subsequently handed down in New York a two-week trial which featured Sheeran performing in a courtroom as the singer insisted, sometimes angrily, that the trial was a threat to all musicians making their own music.

The judge told jurors in his instructions that “independent creativity is a complete defense, no matter how similar the song is,” CBS New York reported.

Sheeran thanked the jury for “reaching a decision that will help protect the creative process of songwriters” in the United States and elsewhere, in a statement he read outside the courthouse after the verdict.

“Like artists everywhere, [Amy Wadge, Sheeran’s co-writer] and I work hard to create songs of my own, which are often based on real personal experiences. It’s devastating to be accused of stealing other people’s songs when we’ve put so much work into our livelihoods,” he said.

“I’m just a guy with a guitar who likes to write music for people to enjoy,” Sheeran continued. “I am not and will never allow myself to be a piggy bank for anyone to shake.”

Sheeran sat with his team of lawyers throughout the trial, defending himself against a lawsuit by the heirs of songwriter Ed Townsend, who created the 1973 soul classic with Gaye. They said that “Thinking Out Loud” is so similar to “Let’s Get It On” that it infringes copyright protection for the song.

At the start of the trial, attorney Ben Crump told jurors on behalf of the Townsends’ heirs that Sheeran himself sometimes performed the two songs together. The jury saw a video of a concert in Switzerland in which Sheeran can be heard playing on stage between “Let’s Get It On” and “Thinking Out Loud”. Crump said it was “smoking proof” that he stole from the famous tune.

Singer Ed Sheeran leaves Manhattan federal court for copyright trial in New York
Singer Ed Sheeran leaves Manhattan federal court for a copyright trial in New York, U.S., April 25, 2023.


As Sheeran testified, he repeatedly picked up the guitar that sits behind him on the witness stand to demonstrate how he seamlessly creates “mashups” of songs during concerts to “live it up a little bit” for his sizeable audience.

The English pop star’s cheerful attitude, which was on display during questioning by his lawyer Ilene Farkas, all but disappeared during cross-examination.

“When you’re writing songs, somebody’s after you,” Sheeran said during his deposition, explaining that the case is closely watched by other industry insiders.

He insisted he didn’t steal anything from “Let’s Get It On” when he wrote his tune.

Townsend’s heirs said in their lawsuit that “Thinking Out Loud” has “striking similarities” and “obvious common elements” that made it it is obvious that he copied “Let’s Get It On,” a song that has been featured in numerous movies and commercials and has garnered hundreds of millions of airplay and radio airplay over the past half century.

Sheeran’s song, released in 2014, became a hit and won the Grammy Award for Song of the Year. His lawyers argued that the songs contained generic versions of similar and unprotected chord sequences freely available to all songwriters.

Gay was killed in 1984 at the age of 44, shot and killed by his father when he tried to intervene in a fight between his parents. HE’S been a Motown superstar since the 1960s, although his songs released in the 1970s made him a generational musical giant.

Townsend, who also wrote the 1958 R&B doo-wop hit “For Your Love,” was a singer-songwriter and attorney who died in 2003. Kathryn Townsend Griffin, his daughter, testified during the trial that she considered Sheeran “a wonderful artist with a great future.”

She said she hoped the lawsuit would not go to trial, “but I have to protect my father’s legacy.”


Previous articleThe Video Game Hall of Fame adds The Last of Us, Wii Sports, Barbie
Next articleOpinion: Sale of Cincinnati Southern Railroad to Norfolk Southern Is a Faustian Bargain | Opinion | Cincinnati