Ed Sheeran Not Found Responsible for Stolen Marvin Gaye Song

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Ed Sheeran He was found not liable in Manhattan federal court on Thursday in a copyright claim alleging he copied essential elements. Marvin Gaye The ’70s hit “Let’s Get It On” for his own “Thinking Out Loud”.

The verdict, which cleared him of copyright infringement, came after just a few hours of deliberation on Thursday and concluded a lawsuit that took less than two weeks.

Standing outside the courtroom, Sheeran read out a statement for journalists that made it clear how frustrated he was at being accused of plagiarism and taking the case to court.

“I am clearly very pleased with the outcome of the case and it looks like I won’t have to retire from my day job,” Sheeran said, referring to a possibly exaggerated statement he made at the podium. He said earlier this week that he would feel compelled to quit music if the decision went against him. “But at the same time, I am absolutely disappointed that baseless allegations like this are allowed to be taken to court… Had the jury decided otherwise, we could have said goodbye to songwriters’ creative freedom.”

“I’m just a guy with a guitar who likes to write music for people’s enjoyment. I won’t and won’t let myself be a piggy bank that anyone can shake.”

Sheeran, who said she had to miss her grandmother’s funeral because of the lawsuit, told reporters, “I missed being in New York for this lawsuit, being at my grandmother’s funeral in Ireland with my family. I won’t be able to get that time back.” The funeral was held on Wednesday.

In closing, Sheeran told the assembled reporters: “We need songwriters and the broader music community to bring back common sense. These allegations must be stopped so that the creative process can continue and we can all get back to making music. At the same time, we need trustworthy people who help support the process and protect copyright.” We definitely need people, real experts.” (Scroll down to see Sheeran’s full statement.)

The Associated Press reported that from inside the courtroom, after the verdict was read, Sheeran said the words “thank you” to the jury and then spoke for about 10 minutes with the plaintiffs, including Kathryn Townsend Griffin, daughter of “Let’s Get It On.” ” co-author Ed Townsend said, “while hugging and smiling at each other.” CNN also reported that Sheeran invited Townsend Griffin to an upcoming concert, according to witnesses.

“These cases take a significant toll on everyone involved, including Kathryn Townsend Griffin,” Sheeran said in a statement.

The jury officially began deliberations after closing the debates on Wednesday evening, but since it was after 5 p.m. the judge held them long enough for an introductory session before sending them home for the night.

U.S. District Court Judge Louis Stanton sent the Manhattan jury to deliberation with meaningful advice: “No matter how similar the song is, independent creation is a complete defense.”

Stanton’s instructions set a high bar in the jury’s head as to how much evidence the plaintiffs’ attorneys had to build to prove that Sheeran and his co-writer actually copied Gaye’s song “Let’s Get It On” when writing the 2014 pop hit “Thinking.” Loud.” The lawsuit was filed by the heirs of Ed Townsend, who co-wrote Gaye’s 1973 song.

Stanton told the jurors that lawyers for Gaye’s co-author Ed Townsend’s heirs must, contrary to the coincidence, “prove by a lot of evidence … that Sheeran did indeed copy ‘Let’s Get It On,’ and wrongly copied it.” The trivial similarities put forward by Sheeran’s lawyers.

In the closing arguments, Sheeran’s lawyer, Ilene Farkas, reverted to the other side’s argument that the singer’s concert mix of the two songs constituted “a smoking gun” and “a confession.” Farkas said, “He did a mashup one night. Is this a plaintiff’s confession, their smoking gun?… Simply put: the plaintiff’s ‘smoking gun’ was blanks.”

Sheeran and “Thinking Out Loud” co-writer Amy Wadge (who was not named as a defendant in the case) both testified during the trial that they had written the song quickly, without any discussion, in a spontaneous afternoon session. Let’s Get Started” acted on by thinking about older relatives and the issue of having love into old age. Similarities in lyrics or melody were not claimed by the plaintiffs.

Sheeran’s attorney, Ilene Farkas, before the case was left to the jury told the judges in the closing discussion that similarities in chords or rhythm are “the letters of the alphabet of music” – compared to melody and lyrics … These are fundamental musical building blocks that songwriters should be free to use now and forever, or all of us who love music will be poorer for it.” said Farkas.

Keisha Rice, another lawyer for the plaintiffs, in turn argued that the case hinges on “the unique way these common elements are brought together.”

Sheeran had claimed earlier this week that he would quit the industry if found guilty. “If that happens, I’m done, I’m stopping,” he said. “I find it really humiliating to dedicate my whole life to being an artist and songwriter and for someone to belittle that.”

Wednesday’s final statement found that a musicologist called by the defense played orchestral recordings of the 1960s pop hit “Georgy Girl” in the courtroom to prove it was one of many songs before “Let’s Get It On” that used the same chords. and the rhythm found in the Gaye and Sheeran hits. On cross-examination, a lawyer for the Townsend heirs objected that chords should indeed be rare if they were to be quoted from a song that was supposedly ambiguous to defend their common use. Sheeran’s lawyer begged to differ on the ambiguity of “Georgy Girl” or any of the other songs mentioned, but “The important thing is that ‘LGO’ (“Let’s Get It On”) didn’t do it first.”

Coincidentally, the decision will put some wind in Sheeran’s sails as this week coincides with the release of both his new album and a Disney+ documentary series.

The music industry as a whole is expected to welcome the jury’s decision, with many thinking that an earlier lawsuit went the other way – a lawsuit alleging that Robin Thicke’s hit song “Blurred Lines” infringed the copyright of Marvin Gaye’s “Got to Give It” . Up” – it will have a chilling effect on songwriters who use their creativity, especially if such lawsuits against songwriters continue. Although both cases included the Gaye songs, the lawyers and plaintiffs in the two cases were not the same.

Sheeran’s full post-decision statement:

good afternoon,

Frankly, I’m very happy with the outcome of the case, and it looks like I won’t have to retire from my day job – but at the same time, I’m incredibly disappointed that baseless claims like this are allowed to ever go to court.

We’ve spent the last eight years talking about two songs with lyrics, melodies, and four chords that are also different, used every day by songwriters around the world.

These chords are common building blocks that were used to create music long before “Let’s Get It On” was written, and will be used to make music long after we’re all gone. They’re a songwriter’s ‘alphabet’, our toolbox, and they should be there for all of us to use. Nobody owns them or the way they are played, and nobody owns the blue color either.

Unfortunately, unfounded claims like this are fueled by those presented as music analysts. In this example, the opposing musicologist skipped words and notes, presented simple (and different) pitches as melodies, created misleading comparisons, and created disinformation to find non-existent similarities. They tried to manipulate my and Amy’s song to convince the jury that they had a real claim, and I am so grateful that the jury understood these attempts. This seems very dangerous to me, both for potential plaintiffs who might be persuaded to make a false claim, and for songwriters faced with it. This is just wrong. By stopping this practice, we can properly support real music copyright claims so that legitimate claims are heard and resolved properly.

If the jury had decided otherwise, we could have said goodbye to the creative freedom of songwriters. We must be able to write our original music and engage in independent creativity without worrying that such creativity will be wrongly questioned every step of the way. Like artists everywhere, Amy and I work hard to create independent songs, often based on real-life personal experiences. It’s devastating to be accused of stealing other people’s songs when we’ve put so much effort into our livelihoods.

I’m just a guy with a guitar who likes to write music for people’s fun. I will never and never will allow myself to be a piggy bank that anyone will shake. Being in New York for this hearing meant I missed being with my family at my grandmother’s funeral in Ireland. I can’t get that time back.

These trials take a significant toll on everyone involved, including Kathryn Townsend Griffin.

I want to thank the jury for making a decision that will help protect the creative process of songwriters in the United States and around the world.

I would also like to thank my team who supported me during this difficult process and all the songwriters, musicians and fans who have reached out with messages of support in the last weeks.

Finally, I want to thank Amy Wadge. 9 years after our great writing session, none of us expected that we would have to defend our integrity here. Amy, I feel so lucky to have you in my life.

We need songwriters and the wider music community to bring back common sense. These allegations need to be stopped for the creative process to continue, and we can all get back to making music. At the same time, we definitely need trusted people, real experts, who help support the copyright protection process. Thank you.

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