A Manhattan jury found Ed Sheeran not guilty of copyright infringement of Mavin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On” for his 2014 song “Thinking Out Loud,” after nearly three hours of deliberation. Sheeran hugged his legal team on Thursday after the verdict was reached. He told reporters outside the courtroom: “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 had been accused of copying the sheet music for Gaye’s 1973 soul classic by the family of the song’s late co-writer, Ed Tonwshend. The lawsuit, seeking $100 million in damages, claimed Sheeran used the rhythm, chord progression and other elements for his 2014 Grammy-wining song without permission.
Opening testimony last week by the plaintiffs lawyer, Ben Crump, said the case is “about giving credit where credit is due” and that Sheeran “recognized the magic of ‘Let’s Get It On’” and used the song without permission. Sheeran’s attorney Ilene Farkas said that the singer/songwriter and his co-writer, Amy Wadge, was “born from an emotional conversation” and was the duo’s “original creation.” According to ABC News, Farkas said in court: “We all benefit from artists being free to create and to build on what came before them,” warning the jury that a verdict against Sheeran would mean “creativity will be stifled for fear of being sued.”
Sheeran performed a portion of both songs in court with his guitar, and testified last week that he writes most of his songs within a day, stating he did not stop think about copying elements from Gaye’s song. Sheeran said while on the stand: “If I had done what you’re accusing me of doing I’d be quite an idiot to stand on stage in front of 25,000 people.”
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