Ed Sheeran Found Not Liable in Copyright Trial Over Marvin Gaye’s Song
The British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran has been embroiled in a high-profile legal battle over allegations that his 2014 hit “Thinking Out Loud” borrowed too heavily from Marvin Gaye’s 1973 classic “Let’s Get It On.” The heirs of Ed Townsend, who co-wrote “Let’s Get It On” with Gaye, filed a lawsuit against Sheeran in 2018 claiming copyright infringement.
The lawsuit claimed that Sheeran copied aspects of “Let’s Get It On” including the melody, harmony, and rhythm. The plaintiffs argued that the similarities were so striking that they could not be mere coincidence or inspiration but were in fact a deliberate act of plagiarism.
The case went to trial in 2019 in the United States District Court for the Central District of California. The trial was closely watched by the music industry and legal experts, as it had the potential to set a precedent for how much artists can borrow from existing works without infringing on copyright.
In the end, the jury found in favor of Sheeran, ruling that he did not commit copyright infringement. The verdict was a major victory for Sheeran and his supporters, who had argued that the similarities between the two songs were merely coincidental and that any similarities were due to common musical elements that cannot be the subject of copyright protection.
The verdict was seen as a blow to the music industry and to those who advocate for stricter copyright laws. Many critics of the verdict argued that it sets a dangerous precedent allowing artists to freely borrow from existing works without proper compensation or credit. Others, however, applauded the verdict as a victory for creative freedom and the ability of artists to draw inspiration from the works of others.
The verdict in Ed Sheeran’s copyright trial highlights the complex nature of copyright law in the music industry. While the case may have been decided in favor of Sheeran, it raises important questions about the limits of artistic inspiration and the role of copyright in protecting creative works. As the music industry continues to evolve, it is likely that these questions will continue to be debated and litigated in courts around the world.