A Jury will decide if Ed Sheeran copied Marvin Gaye’s iconic ‘Let’s Get It On’ while creating his global hit ‘Thinking Out Loud’.
A request by Sheeran to dismiss a lawsuit that accuses him of ripping off the 1973 song was rejected by District Judge Louis Stanton in Manhattan.
Stanton said that that he found “substantial similarities between several of the two works’ musical elements,” which includes the bass lines and percussion of both tracks.
Alongside the “similarities” between the two songs, Stanton also referenced performances of Sheeran “seamlessly transitioning between [the songs]” to support the reasoning for the lawsuit.
The lawsuit will now go in front of a jury who are tasked with deciding whether the harmonic rhythm of ‘Let’s Get It On’ is too common to deserve copyright protection or whether Sheeran instead violated its copyright.
The legal fight was initially brought by the estate of late producer Ed Townsend, who co-wrote Let’s Get It On with Marvin Gaye. It names the defendants as Sheeran, his co-writer Amy Wadge, Sony/ATV Music Publishing and Atlantic Records.
Sheeran’s defence argues that Gaye’s original was a “sexual anthem”, while Thinking Out Loud was instead known for “sombre, melancholic tones, addressing long-lasting romantic love.”
He also faces a second lawsuit from Structured Asset Sales LLC, which owns one-third of Townsend’s estate. They too accuse the star of copying Let’s Get It On” and are seeking $100 million in damages.
Last month, Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke were ordered to pay $5 million after a judge ruled that their hit ‘Blurred Lines’ directly infringed the copyright of Gaye’s ‘Got To Give It Up.’