Ed Sheeran Wins $100 Million Copyright Case: ‘I Will Not Allow Myself To Be A Piggy Bank!’

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The claim that Ed Sheeran plagiarized Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get it On” with his song “Thinking out Loud” has been refuted.

The musician, 32, was facing a $100 million (R1.8 billion) lawsuit from the heirs of the song’s co-writer, Ed Townsend, who maintained that Ed had plagiarized basic melodic components from Gaye’s song.

He was found not guilty on Thursday after a jury of three men and four women deliberated for less than three hours.

Sheeran, who is worth $200 million, stated outside the court: “I’m just a guy with a guitar who loves writing music for people to enjoy. I am not and will not allow myself to be a piggy bank.”

According to Sheeran’s attorney, the matter should never have gone to trial. The artist had placed his career on the result, declaring that if he was convicted, he would be “done” with music.

The estate of the late Ed Townsend, who co-wrote the 1973 R and B classic with Gaye, filed the initial copyright case in 2018.

According to the complaint, Sheeran and his co-writer Amy Wadge “copied and exploited, without authorisation or credit” the composition of “Let’s Get It On” by ripping off its “melody, rhythms, harmonies, drums, bass line, backing chorus, tempo, syncopation, and looping.”

Townsend’s daughter, Kathryn Griffin-Townsend, said about the lawsuit: “It is about today and standing up not only for my father’s work but all artists.”

On April 25, the copyright infringement trial got underway in New York’s Manhattan Federal Court. In his opening statement, a lawyer for Townsend’s heirs said that a video of Ed Sheeran singing a cover of “Let’s Get it On” and “Thinking Out Loud” at one of his performances in Zurich in 2014 was the “smoking gun” for their case.

Lawyer Ben Crump said: “When someone provides you (with) a voluntary confession, believe them.

“Make no mistake about it: The evidence will show that Mr Ed Sheeran… made a confession.”

The singer responded on the stand the same day the video was played: “If I had done what you are accusing me of doing, I would be quite an idiot to stand on a stage in front of 20 000 people and do that.”

Additionally, he claimed that the 1-3-4-5 chord progression in question was typical of pop songs, adding; “When you’re playing a song live and it fits in the same key, most pop songs revolve in the same three or four chords.”

Martin Harrington and Thomas Leonard, two composers, alleged in a lawsuit they had filed in 2016 that Sheeran’s song “Photograph” was a “verbatim, note-for-note copying” of their song “Amazing” from 2009. A settlement was reached outside of court.

When Sheeran wrote “The Rest of Our Life,” which he co-wrote for Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, he was then charged with “blatantly copying” Jasmine Rae’s “When I Found You.” The legal dispute was also resolved.

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