Jury Rules Ed Sheeran Not Liable In Copyright Infringement Case Over Marvin Gaye’s ‘Let’s Get It On’

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A Manhattan jury ruled Thursday (May 4) that Ed Sheeran was not liable in the case in which he was accused of copying key components from Marvin Gaye’s 1973 classic “Let’s Get It On” in his 2014 hit song “Thinking Out Loud.”

The copyright infringement lawsuit was filed in 2017 by the family of singer-songwriter Ed Townsend, Marvin Gaye’s co-writer on the song. The lawsuit reportedly sought $100 million in damages. During the opening arguments, popular civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who was representing the plaintiffs, said the case is about “giving credit where credit is due.”

According to NPR, Ed Sheeran pulled out his guitar and performed during his testimony to demonstrate his songwriting process for his lawyer and the jury. He sang the parts of his song that’s under fire and claimed he had not heard the late musician’s hit until after “Thinking Out Loud” was released. Instead, he testified that he drew inspiration from rock legend Van Morrison.

“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,” the English singer told reporters outside of the courthouse. “But at the same time, I’m unbelievably frustrated that baseless claims like this are allowed to go to court at all.”

This isn’t the first time the Grammy Award-winner has been accused of copyright infringement. In April of 2022, he won a similar lawsuit in the United Kingdom over his 2017 song “Shape of You,” after musician Sami Switch alleged that it was very similar to his 2015 song “Oh Why.” Ed Sheeren also settled a 2016 lawsuit that accused him of copying his 2014 song “Photograph” from fellow English singer Matt Cardle’s single “Amazing.”