Ed Sheeran cleared of allegations of copying ’70s Marvin Gaye hit
New York, May 4 (EFE).- A New York jury on Thursday cleared English singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran of allegations that he partially plagiarized “Let’s Get It On,” a 1973 song co-written by late R&B and soul legend Marvin Gaye.
Sheeran stood up after the verdict was read in Manhattan federal court and hugged his attorneys, who had convinced the seven-person jury that the similarities in the chords used in Gaye’s hit and their client’s 2014 song “Thinking Out Loud,” co-written by Sheeran and Amy Wadge (who was not named as a co-defendant in the suit), were coincidental.
The recording artist then looked at the members of the jury and said “thank you.”
Sheeran, who had been sued by the heirs of “Let’s Get It On” co-writer Ed Townsend (1929-2003), said on the stand about the six-year-old lawsuit that he would retire from music if found liable in the plaintiffs’ copyright claim.
During the two-week trial, Sheeran at one point picked up a guitar and played “Thinking Out Loud” for the jury, an acoustic performance that apparently helped convince them that he had not copied the chord progression of Gaye’s song.
Upon leaving the courtroom, Sheeran read a statement in which he said he is “just a guy with a guitar who loves writing music for people to enjoy.”
“I am not and will never allow myself to be a piggy bank for anyone to shake.”
He also said he had been forced to miss his grandmother’s funeral Wednesday because of the legal proceedings.
“Having to be in New York for this trial has meant that I have missed being with my family at my grandmother’s funeral in Ireland. I won’t get that time back.”
Referring to the verdict, he said that if it had gone against him, “we might as well say goodbye to the creative freedom of songwriters.”
“It is devastating to be accused of stealing other people’s songs when we have put so much work into our livelihoods,” the statement read, adding that recording artists must be able to write songs “without worrying at every step of the way that such creativity will be wrongly called into question.”
The trial concluded just ahead of the release of Sheeran’s new “-” album and the start of the North American leg of his “Mathematics” world tour, which will not include any shows in New York City.
Sheeran, who is promoting his fourth studio album “=,” will give 21 concerts in the US and Canada between May 6 (Arlington, Texas) and Sept. 23 (Inglewood, California).
Sheeran’s song “Thinking Out Loud” was a track on his second studio album, “X,” which has sold millions of copies.
The singer-songwriter had come out on top in another similar trial in March 2022 over his 2017 hit “Shape of You.” In that case, electronic dance music artist Sami Chokri, who performs under the name Sami Switch, had accused Sheeran of plagiarizing his 2015 song “Oh Why.”
Sheeran said in a video uploaded to social media last year that “coincidence is bound to happen if 60,000 songs are being released every day on Spotify.”
“That’s 22 million songs a year and there’s only 12 notes that are available.” EFE