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Sunday, October 1, 2023

The Jury Decides Ed Sheeran’s Fate In Marvin Gaye Copyright Infringement Case

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In a highly publicized copyright infringement case, Ed Sheeran was accused of copying Marvin Gaye’s massively successful hit “Let’s Get It On.” Ed Townsend, who was a co-writer on the song with Gaye, passed away in 2003, but according to sources, his daughter, Kathryn Townsend Griffin, the leading plaintiff in the case, filed the lawsuit on behalf of her father’s estate. “Let’s Get It On,” released in 1973, is being compared to Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud,” which won a Grammy in 2014 for song of the year. The lawsuit was filed in 2017, but the trial did not begin until April 2023.

The attorney representing the Townsend family in the case is well-known civil rights lawyer Benjamin Crump whose specialty resides around high-profile police brutality cases. Crump’s leading argument in the case involves a mash-up performance in 2014, where Sheeran sang both of the songs comparing the keen similarities. This is what Crump considered a “smoking gun,” and believed it would be the evidence needed to win the case in Townsend’s favor. Meanwhile, Sheeran pushed back furiously dismissing the claims saying, “If I’d done what you’re accusing me of doing, I’d be an idiot to stand on stage in front of 20,000 people and do that.” He continued, “It is my belief that most pop songs are built on building blocks that have been freely available for hundreds of years.”

The jury sided with Sheeren. Despite the evidence and testimony presented in the case, the members of the jury decided against the Townsend family and awarded Sheeran with the win. According to them, Sheeran was free and clear and did not commit any copyright infringement violations, and “Thinking Out Loud” was found to be written independently of Marvin Gay’s song “Let’s Get It On.”

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