Ed Sheeran overcomes second copyright lawsuit for ‘Thinking Out Loud’

(Reuters) – British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran defeated a second copyright lawsuit in Manhattan federal court on Tuesday over similarities between his hit “Thinking Out Loud” and Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On.”

US District Judge Louis Stanton dismissed the case brought by Structured Asset Sales LLC, ruling that the parts of “Let’s Get It On” that Sheeran accused of infringing were too commonplace for copyright protection.

Sheeran won a separate jury trial over the songs in the same court earlier this month.

Stanton presided over both cases, which concerned co-writer Ed Townsend’s part of Gaye’s 1973 classic. Townsend’s estate failed to convince the jury that Sheeran infringed on his portion of Townsend’s copyright on the song.

Stanton discovered Wednesday that the combination of chord progression and harmonic rhythm in Gaye’s song was a “basic musical building block” that was too common to merit copyright protection.

Sheeran’s attorney, Ilene Farkas, called the decision “an important victory not only for Ed” and his collaborator Amy Wadge, “but for all songwriters and consumers of music.”

Structured Asset Sales has filed another lawsuit against Sheeran based on his rights to Gaye’s recording, which is still pending.

Pullman told Reuters that the jury in that case will hear the recording of “Let’s Get It On”, as opposed to the computerized interpretation of Townsend’s trial song sheet music.

“Their biggest fear, in terms of everything they’ve submitted, has been preventing the sound recording from getting in,” Pullman said.

(Reporting by Blake Brittain in Washington; Editing by Leslie Adler)

Copyright 2023 Thomson Reuters.

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