Ed Sheeran vs Marvin Gaye: US jury to decide if ‘Thinking Out Loud’ copied ‘Let’s Get It On’

A US jury will decide whether or not Ed Sheeran is guilty of copying Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On” for his hit “Thinking Out Loud”.

District Judge Louis Stanton rejected Sheeran’s request to dismiss the lawsuit and said on Thursday there were “substantial similarities between several of the two works’ musical elements”.

“Let’s Get It On” was released in 1973 while Sheeran’s Grammy-winning “Thinking Out Loud” was included on the British artist’s 2014 X album.

Denies copying Gaye

The lawsuit was brought by the estate and heirs of late producer Ed Townsend, who co-wrote “Let’s Get It On” with Gaye.

It names Sheeran, his co-writer Amy Padge, Sony/ATV Music Publishing and the Atlantic record label as defendants.

Sheeran, 27, denies copying Gaye.

Unclear

As well as the “substantial similarities” between the two songs, Judge Stanton ruled it was disputed whether the harmonic rhythm of “Let’s Get It On” was deserving of copyright protection or whether it was too common.

The defence argued “Thinking Out Loud” was characterised by “sombre, melancholic tones, addressing long-lasting romantic love” while “Let’s Get It On” was a “sexual anthem”.

Despite this, the judge said listeners could view them as having the same “aesthetic appeal”.

“Thinking Out Loud” reached number one in the UK singles charts in November 2014 while “Let’s Get It On” hit number one in the US in September 1973.

Previous accusations of plagiarism

Sheeran has also been accused of plagiarism over his songs “Photograph” and “Shape Of You”.

Judge Stanton is presiding over two lawsuits alleging Sheeran copied “Let’s Get It On”. In the other case, Structured Asset Sales (SAS) is suing for $100m (£79m).

SAS is owned by David Pullman, the creator of the so-called Bowie Bonds, which saw David Bowie sell off bonds for €55m (£42m) backed by royalties from his catalogue.

Gaye was shot dead by his father in 1984 at the age of 44.

Mr Townsend’s family say that Sheeran and the record companies “copied the heart of Let’s and repeated it continuously throughout Thinking”, according to court papers filed in 2016.

In 2017 Sheeran settled a $20m copyright infringement claim against him in the US, over his song “Photograph”.

Songwriters Thomas Leonard and Martin Harrington sued the singer in 2016. They claimed his hit ballad had a similar structure to their song “Amazing”.

Similarly in 2017, the team behind TLC’s 1999 single “No Scrubs” were given writing credits on Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You”. It came after critics and fans pointed out a number of comparisons between the songs.

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The post Ed Sheeran vs Marvin Gaye: US jury to decide if ‘Thinking Out Loud’ copied ‘Let’s Get It On’ appeared first on inews.co.uk.

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