A New York jury has ruled that British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran is not liable for copyright infringement in a case centered on Sheeran and Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On”.
Townsend’s heirs in 2017 sued Sheeran, his label Warner Music Group and his music publisher Sony Music Publishing, claiming infringement of their copyright interest in the Gaye song. Kathryn Townsend Griffin, Townsend’s daughter, said she had to protect her “father’s legacy”.
Sheeran and Wadge, both testified during the trial that they did not copy Let’s Get It On. Sheeran said he had only passing familiarity with the song and that Thinking Out Loud was inspired by Irish musician Van Morrison.
A video was shown of Sheeran merging the two songs on stage. “If I had done what you’re accusing me of doing I’d be quite an idiot to stand on stage in front of 25,000 people,” he argued.
Ed Sheeran didn’t steal key components of Marvin Gaye’s classic 1970s tune “Let’s Get It On” to create his hit song “Thinking Out Loud,” a jury said with a trial verdict on Thursday.
Sheeran had made an earlier claim that he would quit the industry if he lost the case. “If that happens, I’m done, I’m stopping,” he said. “I find it really insulting to devote my whole life to being a performer and a songwriter and have someone diminish it”.
After the verdict had been delivered Sheeran hugged his lawyer. His wife, Cherry Seaborn, and co-writer, Amy Wadge, were reportedly in tears.
Outside court, Sheeran told reporters: “I am obviously very happy with the outcome of the case and it looks like I am not having to retire from my day job after all. But at the same time I’m unbelievably frustrated that baseless claims like this are allowed to go to court at all.”
He said it was “devastating” to be accused of stealing someone else’s song and called himself “just a guy with a guitar who loves writing music for people to enjoy” and will never allow himself to be “a piggybank for anyone to shake”.