UPDATE: ‘Perfect’ Ending – Ed Sheeran Wins ‘Let’s Get It On’ Lawsuit
UPDATE 4PM EST 5/4/2023 Ed Sheeran fans can breathe a sigh of relief, after a Manhattan jury ruled in the
UPDATE 4PM EST 5/4/2023
Ed Sheeran fans can breathe a sigh of relief, after a Manhattan jury ruled in the “Thinking Out Loud” singer’s favor on Thursday.
The jury found that Sheeran did not engage in willful copyright infringement, with one juror saying after court adjourned, “We ultimately came to what we thought was the right interpretation of the law that we were given.”
Outside of the courthouse, Sheeran told reporters, “I’m obviously very happy with the outcome of the case. And it looks like I’m not having to retire from my day job after all. But at the same time, I’m unbelievably frustrated that baseless claims like this are allowed to go to court at all.”
ORIGINAL STORY CONTINUES BELOW:
We recently gave you the tea on what’s going down with Ed Sheeran and the lawsuit against the Townsend family over the 1973 Marvin Gaye hit, “Let’s Get It On.”
Structured Asset Sales claims that Sheeran’s track, “Thinking Out Loud,” uses melodic, harmonic, rhythmic, instrumental, and dynamic elements from Gaye’s song.
Back in September, a Manhatten federal judge paved the way for the lawsuit against Sheeran to be put into further action. Judge Louis Stanton said, “There is no bright-line rule that the combination of two unprotectable elements is insufficiently numerous to constitute an original work. A work may be copyrightable even though it is entirely a compilation of unprotectable elements.”
Losing the Lawsuit Could Mean Losing Sheeran
While testifying on Monday at a federal courthouse in Manhattan, Sheeran was asked by attorney Ileme Farkas what will happen if the accuser wins ownership over the chord progression in question. Sheeran replied, “If that happens, I’m done – I’m stopping.” Adding in, “I find it really insulting to work my whole life as a singer-songwriter and diminish it.”
The attorneys on Sheeran’s side of the lawsuit countered the claim by stating that, “the two songs share versions of a similar and unprotectable chord progression that was freely available to all songwriters.”
Explaining His Work Through Song
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During last week’s hearing, the accusers called upon musicologist Alexander Stewart to draw the similarities between the two tracks. Stewart played a [strange] AI rendering of the tunes which drew more laughter than understanding.
Sheeran criticized the rendering for not interpreting his song correctly which led him to pulling out his guitar himself and demonstrating the differences between the chord progressions.
Sheeran also gave the court a tour of his development as a songwriter, writing one to two songs a day, and now writing eight to nine songs daily. He told the court, “If a song takes longer than a day, it’s not worth pursuing.”
Sheeran has always been candid about where his musical inspiration comes from, sharing with the judge and the jury that last week alone he wrote 10 songs about different life moments. Speaking about “Thinking Out Loud,” Sheeran explained that it was a “very collaborative” process between him and co-writer Amy Wedge. His inspiration for it came after he heard Wedge “mumbling” the chords and knew he needed to write a song to them.
The lyrics for the track were rooted in Sheeran’s grandad dying and his grandmother being diagnosed with cancer. As for Wedge, she was also dealing with a family illness at the time.
During the hearing, Sheeran carried on to sing the multiple versions of the track to showcase how it developed from start to finish, along with performing the opening chords on his guitar.
And, although Sheeran is threatening to end his work in the industry if he loses the lawsuit, he’s still scheduled to kick off a North American tour on Saturday following the release of his new studio album, “Subtract” which comes out Friday, May 5.