The week-long trial for copyright infringement against singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran ended with a decision on Thursday. A federal jury concluded that he had not inadvertently copied a well-known Marvin Gaye song.
As the verdict was being read, CBS2 was present.
“I’m obviously very happy with the outcome of the case and it looks like I’m not having to retire from my day job after all. But at the same time, I’m unbelievably frustrated that baseless claims like this are allowed to go to court at all,” Sheeran said.
After a jury determined that Sheeran did not plagiarize Gaye’s 1973 song “Lets Get It On” when he wrote his hit “Thinking Out Loud,” Sheeran hugged his attorneys in court. On Monday, Sheeran even performed songs he and other artists had written to demonstrate the four-chord sequence, widely acknowledged as a fundamental element of popular music.
According to Sheeran’s group, that is the only similarity between the two tracks.
The estate of Ed Townsend, who wrote “Let’s Get It On” with Gaye, sued Sheeran. Ben Crump, their lawyer, did not appear in court on Thursday. Kathryn Townsend-Griffin, Townsend’s daughter, just said, “God is good always and God is good always.”
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The three men and four women on the jury deliberated for around three hours on Thursday after receiving the case late on Wednesday.
“There was a lot of back and forth. Both sides had great lawyers and did a great job and it was a very interesting case,” juror Sophie Nies said.
Sheeran’s wife gave the cameras the thumbs up while sharing an emotional embrace with a buddy. “Thinking Out Loud” was co-written by Amy Wadge and Sheeran.
“This has been a hell of a couple of weeks, a hell of a seven years, but to get a verdict that we just got, I can’t even begin to tell you how relieved I am for the songwriting industry,” Wadge said.
“If the jury had decided this matter the other way, we might as well say goodbye to the creative freedom of songwriters,” Sheeran added.
CBS2 contacted Crump for comment, but no response was received. Sheeran triumphed in a different copyright battle in the UK last year involving another song.
A court determined that a different Gaye hit, “Got To Give It Up,” was plagiarized, leading Gaye’s estate to sue two other pop singers a few years ago. They were successful.
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