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New Zealand

US jury sides with Ed Sheeran in ‘Let’s Get It On’ copyright trial

Ed Sheeran in Wellington, February 2023.
photograph: RNZ / Samuel Rilstone

Ed Sheeran’s 2014 hit “Thinking Out Loud” was not illegally copied from Marvin Gaye’s 1973 classic “Let’s Get It On,” a Manhattan federal court jury scrutinized Thursday. Decided in supervised copyright litigation.

The jury determined that “Let’s Get It On” songwriter Ed Townshend’s heiress would be the heiress of Sheeran, his label Warner Music Group, and his music publisher Sony Music Publishing. It was determined that he had not proved that he had infringed on the copyright of gay songs.

After the verdict was read out, Sheeran hugged his lawyer in court.

Townsend’s heiress sued Sheeran for copyright infringement in 2017, claiming that “Thinking Out Loud” copied the “heart” of Gaye’s song, including the melody, harmony and rhythm. He argued that the similarities between the two included basic musical “building blocks” that could not be copyrighted.

Sheeran, who testified during the trial, denied the allegations of copyright infringement and told the jury, “I think it’s really disrespectful to dedicate your life to being a performer or songwriter and have someone disrespect it.” said.

Sitting in the witness box, Sheeran played the chord progression of “Thinking Out Loud” and sang the opening line, “When your feet don’t work like they used to.” Sheeran testified that he first began strumming the song’s chords when his friend and collaborator Amy Wadge visited his home in England, and he collaborated on the lyrics.

Lawyer Ben Crump, who represents the heirs, told jurors that Sheeran effectively confessed to stealing Gaye’s song when he performed it live as a medley of “Thinking Out Loud.” Told.

Sheeran testified that singers often do such “mashups,” combining their own songs with Van Morrison’s “Crazy Love” and Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You.” He testified that he had.

Attorneys for Townsend’s heirs did not immediately respond to requests for comment after the verdict.

Gay, who died in 1984, collaborated with Townsend, who died in 2003, to write “Let’s Get It On,” which topped the Billboard charts. Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud” peaked at #2 on her Billboard Hot 100 in 2015.

Plaintiffs sought a share of the profits from “Thinking Out Loud.” The heir filed in court that he received 22% of the gay song writer’s share from Townsend.

Two similar lawsuits are pending against Sheeran of Manhattan brought by investment banker and “Bowie Bonds” creator David Pullman’s Structured Asset Sales LLC.

Last year, Sheeran won a separate copyright lawsuit in London over his hit “Shape of You.” Gay’s heiress said in 2015, when a Los Angeles jury agreed with claims that Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams’ song “Blurred Lines” copied Gay’s “Got to Give It Up.” Won an important verdict.

– Reuters

https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/world/489296/us-jury-sides-with-ed-sheeran-in-let-s-get-it-on-copyright-trial US jury sides with Ed Sheeran in ‘Let’s Get It On’ copyright trial

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