Ed Sheeran wins 'Thinking Out Loud' copyright case

Ed Sheeran Wins ‘Thinking Out Loud’ Copyright Case

The British singer-songwriter had vehemently denied appropriating parts of the song for his massive global smash in 2014. According to Sheeran’s heirs, Sheeran, Warner Music Group, and Sony Music Publishing were accused of violating the copyright of Gaye’s co-writer. In the New York trial, Sheeran had declared that he would end his musical career if found guilty.

When questioned about the emotional toll the Manhattan federal court trial had on him, he responded, “If that happens, I’m done. I’m stopping.” After the jury decided that Sheeran “independently” wrote his song, he got up and embraced his band. While speaking outside court, Sheeran declared he was “obviously pleased” with the decision.

He said I wouldn’t have to leave my day job after all. However, I must admit that I find it utterly frustrating that such flimsy charges may even be brought up in court. “We might as well say goodbye to the creative freedom of songwriters if the jury had decided this case differently,” the judge said.

He continued, “I am not, and I will never permit myself to be, a piggy bank for anyone to shake. Before Gaye’s famous song from 1973, according to a musicologist testifying on Sheeran’s behalf in court, the four-chord pattern was utilized in some other pieces.

The accusation of copyright infringement against Sheeran was made by Kathryn Townsend Griffin, the daughter of Gaye’s co-writer, Ed Townsend. She hurried by the reporters while smoking what appeared to be a cigarillo, saying only, “God is good all the time, all the time God is good.”

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Sheeran performed and played guitar at the civil trial while performing portions of Thinking Out Loud. He claimed that he co-wrote the song with his friend Amy Wadge at his home in England and that his grandparents and a just-started romantic connection inspired him. Sheeran’s attorney, Ilene Farkas, explained to the jury that the two songs’ similar chord progressions and rhythms were “the letters of the alphabet of music.”

She said all of us who love music would be worse off without these fundamental elements. “Songwriters now and forever must be free to use them.” Townsend’s heirs’ attorney Keisha Rice stated during the trial that her clients were not asserting ownership of fundamental musical parts but rather “how these common elements were uniquely combined.”

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She advised the jury to use their “common sense” to determine if the songs are comparable, warning that Mr. Sheeran “is counting on you to be very overwhelmed by his commercial success.” At the High Court in London last year, Sheeran prevailed in a copyright dispute involving his 2017 song Shape of You.

A business owned by investment banker David Pullman with copyright interests in the Gaye song is suing Sheeran over his song Thinking Out Loud. Gaye’s heirs won a $5.3 million verdict in 2015 after suing Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams, claiming their song Blurred Lines plagiarized Gaye’s Got to Give It Up.


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