Jury Tried Ed Sheeran’s Copyright Infringement Case
A jury concluded Thursday that British singer Ed Sheeran Did not steal the original material Marvin Gaye’s classic 1970s tune “Let’s get it going” When he produced his hit song “Thinking Out Loud”.
Then came the verdict in New York Two week trial which featured a courtroom performance by Sheeran as the singer sometimes angrily insisted that the trial was a threat to all musicians making their own music.
The judge told jurors in his instructions that “independent creation is a complete defense, no matter how similar the song is,” CBS New York reported. Report.
Sheeran sat with his legal team throughout the trial, defending himself against a lawsuit from the heirs of songwriter Ed Townsend, who produced the 1973 soul classic with Gaye. They said that “Thinking Out Loud” had too much in common with “Let’s Get It On” that it violated the song’s copyright protection.
At the start of the trial, attorney Ben Crump told jurors on behalf of Townsend’s heirs that Sheeran himself sometimes performed the two songs together. Jurors watched video of a concert in Switzerland in which Sheeran can be heard segueing on stage between “Let’s Get It On” and “Thinking Out Loud”. Crump said it was the “smoking gun” evidence he stole from the famous tune.
Eduardo Munoz / Reuters
As Sheeran testified, he repeatedly picked up a guitar resting behind him on the witness stand to demonstrate how he creates “mashups” of songs during concerts to “spice things up” for his large crowds.
All but the cheerful attitude of the English pop star on display under questioning by her attorney, Elaine Farkas, disappeared in the cross-examination.
“When you write songs, somebody comes after you,” Sheeran said during his testimony as he explained that the case is being closely watched by others in the industry.
He insists he didn’t steal anything from “Let’s Get It On” when he wrote its tune.
Townsend’s heirs said in their lawsuit that “Thinking Out Loud” had “striking similarities” and “very common elements” that made it up. Obviously it has been copied “Let’s Get It On,” is a song that has been featured in countless movies and commercials and has scored millions of stream spins and radio plays over the past half century.
Sheeran’s song, released in 2014, was a hit, winning a Grammy for Song of the Year. His lawyers argued that the songs shared versions of a similar and unprotected chord progression freely available to all songwriters.
Gay was killed in 1984 at the age of 44, shot by his father as he tried to intervene in a fight between his parents. He’s been a Motown superstar since the 1960s, though his songs released in the 1970s make him a generational musical giant.
Townsend, who wrote the 1958 R&B doo-wop hit “For Your Love,” was a singer, songwriter and lawyer who died in 2003. Kathryn Townsend Griffin, his daughter, testified during the trial that she thought Sheeran was “a great artist with a great future.”
He said he hoped the case would not go to trial, “but I have to protect my father’s legacy.”