British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran has won a copyright infringement case against him over allegations that his hit song “Thinking Out Loud” copied elements of Marvin Gaye’s classic “Let’s Get It On.” The verdict was announced by a jury in New York on May 6, 2023, after a two-week trial.
The lawsuit was brought by Kathryn Townsend Griffin, a co-writer of the 1973 song, who claimed that Sheeran’s song copied the “melody, harmony, and rhythm compositions” of “Let’s Get It On.” However, the jury ultimately found that there was no substantial similarity between the two songs and that Sheeran did not copy Gaye’s work.
This is not the first time that Sheeran has faced accusations of copyright infringement. In 2018, he settled a lawsuit over his hit song “Photograph,” which was alleged to have copied a song called “Amazing” by Matt Cardle. Sheeran has also been accused of copying other songs, including “Shape of You,” which was accused of copying TLC’s “No Scrubs,” and “The Rest of Our Life,” which was accused of copying a song by Australian country music artists.
In a statement following the verdict, Sheeran said, “I am grateful for the jury’s decision and for the support of my fans throughout this process. I have always been honest about my inspirations and have never intentionally copied anyone else’s work. I am glad that this matter is now behind me so that I can focus on creating new music for my fans.”
The case has sparked debate about the balance between protecting intellectual property and allowing artists to be inspired by the works of others. Some argue that copyright law can stifle creativity and that artists should be free to draw on the influences of their predecessors. Others argue that protecting intellectual property is essential to the creative process and that artists should not be allowed to profit from the work of others without permission.
Regardless of where one stands on this debate, it is clear that copyright infringement cases are likely to continue to be a contentious issue in the music industry. As artists continue to draw on the works of their predecessors, the line between inspiration and copying will remain a blurry one, and lawsuits like the one faced by Ed Sheeran are likely to continue to make headlines.