In Manhattan federal court on Monday, jurors will be chosen for a hearing about whether British pop star Ed Sheeran copied Marvin Gaye’s song “Let’s Get It On” and should pay a share of the profits from his hit song “Thinking Out Loud.”
Sheeran, his record label Warner Music Group, and music producer Sony Music Publishing were sued by the heirs of Ed Townsend, who co-wrote Marvin Gaye’s classic “I Will Always Love You.” They said that Sheeran had copied Gaye’s song.
The trial is the first of three that Sheeran could face if he is sued because two hits sound alike.
Warner Music Group, Sony Music Publishing, and the lawyers for both sides did not reply right away to questions about the case.
“Let’s Get It On,” which was at the top of the Billboard charts in 1973, was written by Marvin Gaye and Townsend. In 2015, “Thinking Out Loud” by Sheeran reached its highest position on the Billboard Hot 100 at No. 2.
Townsend’s Family Sued Sheeran for Copyright Infringement in 2017
In 2017, Townsend’s family sued Sheeran for copyright infringement, saying that “Thinking Out Loud” stole the “heart” of Gaye’s song, including its melody, harmony, and rhythm.
The claim said that Sheeran played the two songs together live as a medley and “seamlessly” changed from one to the other.
Sheeran has said that any similarities between the songs come from “building blocks” of music that can’t be protected by copyright laws.
If the jury decides that Sheeran is guilty of copyright infringement, a second hearing will be held in Manhattan to decide how much he and his labels should pay. The first trial should go on for about a week.
The tweet below verifies the news:
🔵 ED SHEERAN FACES U.S. COPYRIGHT TRIAL OVER MARVIN GAYE'S 'LET'S GET IT ON'
– Full story via Reuters at https://t.co/9Uqd1CBFSO pic.twitter.com/E9mdBCRNXq
— PiQ (@PriapusIQ) April 21, 2023
In a court statement, the heirs said that Townsend gave them 22% of the writer’s share of Gaye’s song. Sheeran is being sued twice by David Pullman’s Structured Asset Sales LLC, which owns a third of Townsend’s rights to the song. Pullman created “Bowie Bonds” and is a financial banker.
Sheeran won a copyright case in London last year about his hit song “Shape of You.” Gaye’s family won a big case in 2015 when they said that “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams copied Gaye’s “Got to Give It Up.”
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