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    Friday, May 5, 2023

    British Musician Ed Sheeran Wins US Copyright Trial

    A federal jury found on Thursday that pop singer Ed Sheeran did not copy Marvin Gaye’s classic Let’s Get It On for his 2014 hit Thinking Out Loud, in the music industry’s highest-profile copyright case in years.

    Over two weeks in a downtown Manhattan courtroom, Sheeran, one of music’s biggest global hitmakers, testified — often with a guitar in hand — that Thinking Out Loud had been created independently one evening with his friend and longtime collaborator Amy Wadge. The song was inspired, he said, by the decadeslong loves that he and Wadge observed among elders in their families.

    The two tracks share a similar syncopated chord pattern that the family of Ed Townsend, Gaye’s co-writer, which filed the suit, called the “heart” of Let’s Get It On. Sheeran and his lawyers never denied that the chords in the two songs are similar, but called them commonplace musical building blocks that have turned up in dozens of other songs.

    The case, which was filed in 2017 and had been delayed in part by the coronavirus pandemic, involved questions of originality in pop music, and whether the use of basic musical elements, like chord progressions and simple rhythmic patterns, can be owned by a single creator or are free for any musician to use and adapt.

    The jury, which deliberated for around three hours, found that Sheeran had created the song independently.

    “I am obviously very happy with the outcome of the case,” Sheeran said in a statement that he read outside the courthouse. “At the same time, I am unbelievably frustrated that baseless claims like this are allowed to go to court at all.

    “We have spent the last eight years talking about two songs with dramatically different lyrics, melodies and four chords which are also different and used by songwriters every day, all over the world,” Sheeran continued. “These chords are common building blocks which were used to create music long before Let’s Get It On was written and will be used to make music long after we are all gone."

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