Ed Sheeran is Bound to Face Trial for Allegedly Copying Marvin Gaye’s Music

Ed Sheeran at Radio 1's Big Weekend 2022Photo by Joseph Okpako/WireImage

Former The Voice Mega Mentor Ed Sheeran is set to defend himself in court over a copyright infringement allegation. If proven guilty, Sheeran will incur a multi-million worth of loss, serving as damages for the injured party.


For those who may have missed it, this legal dispute began in 2016 when Ed Townsend’s family accused Ed Sheeran of copying parts of “Let’s Get It On” by Marvin Gaye. Townsend was the song’s co-writer, and his relatives claimed that Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud” has distinct similarities with it.

This case was eventually dismissed, but Sheeran has found himself in the middle of the same issue in 2018. Apparently, Structured Asset Sales, which holds a one-third stake in Townsend’s copyrights, sued him for $100 million.

As of writing, no schedule for the first hearing has been set yet for the trial. Meanwhile, the case will be tried at a Manhattan federal courthouse.


The present lawsuit asserts that Sheeran stole the 1973 song’s chord progression and harmonic rhythm. To this, the pop star’s attorneys contended that these song elements were not unique enough to be considered as exclusive intellectual property. However, Judge Louis Stanton wasn’t convinced. He wrote that a jury trial should prosper.

“There is no bright-line rule that the combination of two unprotectable elements is insufficiently numerous to constitute an original work,” the judge said. “A work may be copyrightable even though it is entirely a compilation of unprotectable elements.”

In addition, the case poses risks on Sheeran’s concert profits. Judge Stanton ruled that if found culpable, the pop star’s revenues will slip in favor of Structured Asset Sales.


He Just Won Another Lawsuit Case

The present dispute is not Sheeran’s first experience in a copyright infringement case. Recently, he won the battle against accusations that he plagiarized “Oh Why” by Sami Chokri for his 2017 hit single “Shape of You.”

The pop star took to Instagram his reflection after the court case. He admitted that lawsuits are not a pleasant experience and that he wishes to refrain from parallel instances. Unluckily though, he is facing another once again.

Amid copyright controversies, Sheeran doesn’t let the same consume his touring commitments. The singer just announced the North American leg of his Mathematics Tour, and fans are expecting even more for next year.

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