Jury Finds Ed Sheeran Not Liable In ‘Let’s Get It On’ Copyright Trial
A jury decided Thursday that British pop star Ed Sheeran was not liable in a copyright infringement lawsuit that accused him of taking parts of the melody of Marvin Gaye’s soul classic “Let’s Get It On” in his hit “Thinking Out Loud.”
The jury reached a unanimous verdict, a requirement in the case, after three hours of deliberations.
The trial kicked off in a Manhattan federal courtroom on April 25 and saw the 32-year-old singer take the stand and pick up his guitar and sing before the jurors.
The case stemmed from a lawsuit first filed in 2017 by the heirs of Ed Townsend, Marvin Gaye’s co-writer. It claims Sheeran’s 2014 hit “Thinking Out Loud” has “striking similarities” and shares “overt common elements” to Gaye’s 1973 record “Let’s Get It On,” which is protected by copyright.
Sheeran said he came up with his song, which he co-wrote with Amy Wadge, after the death of a grandfather. The song is about finding love at an old age, he told the court.
In the trial, Sheeran was questioned about a live mashup of the two songs in question recorded in a Zurich concert video clip. One of the Townsend attorneys, Ben Crump, called the clip a “smoking gun” and proof he was violating copyrights.
Sheeran argued he’s done mashups with his other songs and said: “If I did what you’re accusing me of, I’d be an idiot to stand in front of people.”
Townsend’s daughter, Kathryn Townsend Griffin, also took the stand and said she had never heard of the British singer before “Thinking Out Loud.” She said she didn’t want the case to get to the point of trial, “But I have to protect my father’s legacy.”
Ed Sheeran spoke after the court ruling.