When Accused of Violating Copyright Ed Sheeran Was Judged Not at Fault
After nearly three hours of deliberation, a Manhattan jury found Ed Sheeran not guilty of copyright infringement of Mavin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On” for his 2014 song “Thinking Out Loud.” After the verdict was announced on Thursday, Sheeran gave his legal team a big hug.
“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.”
The family of the late co-writer of Gaye’s 1973 soul smash, Ed Tonwshend, has accused Sheeran of ripping off the sheet music for the tune. The case, which sought $100 million in damages, alleged that Sheeran had illegally copied the beat, chord sequence, and other components of his Grammy-winning song from 2014.
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Ben Crump, the plaintiffs’ attorney, stated in his opening statement last week that the action is “about giving credit where credit is due” and that Sheeran “recognized the magic of ‘Let’s Get It On'” before using the music without authorization.
Ilene Farkas, the lawyer for Sheeran, said that the songwriting partnership between Sheeran and his co-writer Amy Wadge was “born from an emotional conversation” and was the duo’s “original creation.”
In court, Farkas reportedly stated: “We all benefit from artists being free to create and to build on what came before them,” warning the jury that a verdict against Sheeran would mean “creativity will be stifled for fear of being sued.”
ED Sheeran played his guitar throughout a section of both songs’ performances in court and claimed last week that he writes most of his songs in a single day, adding that he did not stop to consider stealing parts of Gaye’s song.
In court, Sheeran remarked, “If I had done what you’re accusing me of doing I’d be quite an idiot to stand on stage in front of 25,000 people.”
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