Thursday, April 18, 2024

Musician Ed Sheeran in court for allegedly copying Marvin Gaye song

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British singer Ed Sheeran appeared in a New York City court to deny that his smash single “Thinking Out Loud” copied the classic Marvin Gaye song “Let’s Get It On.”

Sheeran is accused of copying “Let’s Get It On” by the heirs of Ed Townsend, who co-wrote the 1973 hit with Gaye. Townsend’s daughter Kathryn Townsend Griffin, sister Helen McDonald and the estate of his former wife, Cherrigale Townsend, are the listed plaintiffs on the “Thinking Out Loud” case. Gaye died in 1984 and Townsend died in 2003.The heirs of Gaye’s co-writer argue that Sheeran, Warner Music Group and Sony Music Publishing owe them money for allegedly stealing the song.

In his opening statement Tuesday, Townsend attorney Ben Crump noted Sheeran played his ballad and Gaye’s song back-to-back in a medley during a concert, and called the moment a “smoking gun.”

But he said he’d “be a quite an idiot” to do that if he had copied the song.

Asked by lawyer Keisha Rice about another song he wrote, Take it Back, which contains the lyrics “plagiarism is hidden”, Sheeran confirmed that he had written the words.

“Those are my lyrics, yep,” he said, adding: “Can I give some context to them?”

She said that if she wanted any context she would ask for it, and went on to ask him about concert footage recorded in Zurich showing him mixing lyrics from Gaye’s 1973 song with Thinking Out Loud.

Ed Sheeran played guitar and sang on the stand Thursday as part of his testimony.He played the opening line of “Thinking Out Loud” in an attempt to rebut the testimony of the plaintiff’s expert witness, Alexander Stewart.

Stewart is a music expert called by the plaintiffs. On Wednesday, Stewart claimed the chords Sheeran played in the first 24 seconds of the song were “virtually identical” to “Let’s Get It On.”

Sheeran denied he played the chords in the way Stewart described, and played the two versions to show the difference.

“It helps his argument, obviously,” Sheeran said. “It works very, very, well for him, but it’s not the truth.”

Sheeran was previously briefly called to testify Tuesday by attorney Keisha Rice, who represents the heirs of Ed Townsend, who co-wrote the song “Let’s Get it on,” with Marvin Gaye.

During his earlier testimony, the musician said the idea of creating the medley was “probably mine.” He said if he had indeed copied “Let’s Get It On,” then he “would’ve been an idiot to stand on stage in front of 20,000 people.”

Sheeran’s legal team has argued throughout the week that the sounds used in both songs are common in pop music.

4 COMMENTS

  1. The chord progression is the same, distinctly on the bass. However, if I listen to Rikki Ililonga’s Shebeen Queen its the same too but he wasnt sued perhaps because he was in the Third World and didnt make much money? Sheeran’s lawyer has to convince the judge about how generic this is.
    Some time back a federal appeals court awarded Gaye’s family a $5.3 million judgment against Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams for copying “I heard it through the grapevine” and that plagiarism wasnt as clear as this one.

  2. The chord progression is the same, more distinctly on the bass. However, if I listen to Rikki Ililonga’s Shebeen Queen its similar however, he wasnt sued perhaps because he was in the Third World and didnt make much money?

  3. Sheeran’s lawyer has to convince the judge about how generic this is.
    Some time back a federal appeals court awarded Gaye’s family a $5.3 million judgment against Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams for copying “I heard it through the grapevine” and that plagiarism wasnt as clear as this one.

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