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Ed Sheeran wins copyright trial case

2023 May 05, 9:54, Washington [US]
Ed Sheeran. (Image Source: Twitter)

'Shape of You' singer Ed Sheeran won the copyright trial case on Thursday which alleged that he plagiarized the Marvin Gaye hit 'Let's Get It On' for his 'Thinking Out Loud' song.

According to Variety, a US-based media house, after just a few hours of discussion on Thursday, the jury issued a decision clearing him of copyright infringement, capping a case that lasted just under two weeks.

Sheeran gave a statement to the media outside the courthouse in which he expressed his frustration at being charged with plagiarism and having the case go to trial.

Sheeran said, "I am obviously very happy with the outcome of the case, and it looks like I'm not going to have to retire from my day job after all.

Alluding to a probably exaggerated comment he had made earlier this week on the witness stand that if the verdict was against him, he would feel obligated to stop playing music. "But at the same time, I am absolutely frustrated that baseless claims like this are allowed to go to court at all... If the jury had decided this matter the other way, we might as well say goodbye to the creative freedom of songwriters."

"I am 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 added.

Sheeran told reporters that having to be in New York for the trial had prevented him from attending his grandmother's funeral in Ireland, and that he had been forced to skip it because of the case. It's not time I can get back. On Wednesday, the funeral was held.

We need songwriters and the larger musical community to unite to restore common sense, Sheeran concluded in his closing remarks. So that the creative process may continue and we can all return to making music, these claims must be refuted. At the same time, we are in dire need of dependable professionals who can support the procedure and defend copyright.

As per Variety report, Sheeran and his co-writer on "Thinking Out Loud," Amy Wadge (who was not named as a defendant in the suit), both testified during the trial that they had written the song quickly in a spontaneous afternoon session without any discussion of "Let's Get It On," prompted by thinking about older relatives and the topic of having love last into old age. Similarities in lyrics or melody were not alleged by the plaintiffs.

Earlier this week, Sheeran had claimed in testimony that he would quit the industry if found guilty. He said, "If that happens, I'm done, I'm stopping. I find it really insulting to devote my whole life to being a performer and a songwriter and have someone diminish it."

To prove that "Georgy Girl" was one of many songs that predated "Let's Get It On" that used the same chords and rhythm as the Gaye and Sheeran hits, the defence had called a musicologist who played orchestral recordings of the 1960s pop hit for the jury on Wednesday. An counsel representing the Townsend heirs argued during cross-examination that the chords must be extremely uncommon if a song that was meant to be obscure was being used to support their widespread use. Although Sheeran's lawyer argued that "Georgy Girl" and the other songs were obscure, he added that "What matters is that 'LGO' ('Let's Get It On') did not do it first."

The decision will boost Sheeran's career because both his new album and a Disney+ documentary series are being released this week.

The jury's decision is expected to be welcomed by the entire music industry, as many believed that a previous case that went the other way -- a lawsuit alleging that Robin Thicke's hit song 'Blurred Lines' had violated Marvin Gaye's copyright for 'Got to Give It Up'-- would have a chilling effect on songwriters using their creativity, especially if further such lawsuits went against songwriters. Despite the fact that both cases involved Gaye songs, the plaintiffs and solicitors were different in each case. 


Ed Sheeran Shape of You plagiarized Marvin Gaye Let's Get It On Thinking Out Loud US-based media house
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