Ed Sheeran didn’t steal from Marvin Gaye song, jury rules

Musician Ed Sheeran leaves federal court in New York, US, on Wednesday, May 3, 2023.

Stephanie Keith | Bloomberg | GettyImages

A Manhattan federal jury ruled Thursday that pop star Ed Sheeran didn’t infringe on the copyright of Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On.”

At question was whether Sheeran’s 2014 hit “Thinking Out Loud” cribbed from the 1973 classic. Jurors decided that Sheeran, 32, independently created his song and was not liable for copyright infringement.

After a two-week trial, judges reached an unanimous verdict after three hours of deliberation.

Upon hearing the verdict, Sheeran stood up and hugged his lawyers, according to NBC News. His wife and “Thinking Out Loud” co-writer Amy Wedge were seen in tears.

The lawsuit was brought by the heirs of Ed Townsend, who co-wrote “Let’s Get It On” with Gaye. The plaintiffs first filed the civil lawsuit in 2017 and alleged that Sheeran, Warner Music Group and Sony Music Publishing stole from the soul classic, violating federal copyright law.

The trial saw Sheeran take the stand in defense of his Grammy-award winning song. Sheeran told jurors that he composed “Thinking Out Loud” independently with British songwriter Wedge, who was not named in the lawsuit.

When asked about the toll of the case earlier this week, Sheeran threatened to quit music if he was found guilty. “If that happens, I’m done, I’m stopping,” Sheeran said in court Monday.

Last April, Sheeran took the stand involving another one of his hits, 2017′s “Shape of You”. A London judge in that case ruled in favor of Sheeran and awarded him more than $1.1 million in legal fees.

Gaye died in 1984, while Townsend died in 2003.

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