A jury on Thursday determined that British singer Ed Sheeran did not copy parts of Marvin Gaye’s classic hit “Let’s Get It On” for his 2014 single “Thinking Out Loud.”
Jurors found that Sheeran did not infringe on the copyright for “Let’s Get It On” after about three hours of deliberations, WABC-TV reported. He hugged his lawyers when the verdict was read, according to the news station.
Sheeran was facing a lawsuit from the family of songwriter Ed Townsend, who co-wrote 1973′s “Let’s Get It On” with Gaye.
“I’m obviously very happy with the outcome of this case and it looks like I’m not having to retire from my day job after all,” Sheeran said outside the courthouse after the verdict came down. “But at the same time, I’m unbelievably frustrated that baseless claims like this are allowed to go to court at all.”
Thursday’s verdict came after a two-week trial that included courtroom performances by Sheeran, who picked up his guitar on the witness stand to show how he creates “mashups” of songs during his concerts, The Associated Press reported. Attorney Ben Crump, who represented Townsend’s heirs, told jurors at the start of the trial that Sheeran sometimes performed “Thinking Out Loud” and “Let’s Get It On” together, calling it the “smoking gun” proving that he stole from the well-known song, according to the AP.
During the trial, attorneys for Townsend’s family claimed there were similarities in the chord progression, harmonic rhythm and some melodies in the 1973 and 2014 songs, CNN reported. Lawyers representing Sheeran argued that the melodies were not the same and that similarities between the songs came from elements that are common in pop music.
“We’ve spent the last eight years talking about two songs with dramatically different lyrics, melodies, and four chords which are also different and used by songwriters every day all over the world,” Sheeran said Thursday.
“These chords are common building blocks which were used to create music long before ‘Let’s Get It On’ was written and will be used to make music long after we are all gone. They are in a songwriter’s alphabet, our toolkit, and should be there for all of us to use. No one owns them or the way they are played in the same way that nobody owns the color blue.”
At trial Townsend’s daughter, Kathryn Townsend, said she thought Sheeran was “a great artist with a great future” and that she had hoped the lawsuit wouldn’t make it to the courthouse, the AP reported.
“But I have to protect my father’s legacy,” she said.
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