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Ed Sheeran Wins Marvin Gaye Plagiarism Lawsuit

Ed Sheeran is in the clear, as the singer-songwriter has been found not liable in ripping off the Marvin Gaye classic Let's Get It On.

via Newsweek:

After winning his legal battle on Thursday, musician Ed Sheeran said he's "frustrated" that certain copyright claims can be heard in court.

"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 the basis of claims like this are allowed to go to court at all," Sheeran said in a video posted to his Instagram. "We've spent the last eight years talking about two songs with dramatically different lyrics, melodies and four chords which are also different and are used by songwriters every day all over the world."

The comments by Sheeran came shortly after he won the court case in New York City as a grand jury ruled that his 2014 song, "Thinking Out Loud" did not copy the 1973 hit, "Let's Get It On" by Marvin Gaye.

In 2017, the late-Ed Townsend, who co-wrote "Let's Get It On" filed a lawsuit against Sheeran, claiming that his 2014 song had "striking similarities" and "overt common elements" to his song.

In response, Sheeran's team had argued that the similarities were not purposeful and said, "The two songs share versions of a similar and unprotectable chord progression that was freely available to all songwriters," Yahoo News reported.

Earlier in the trial, Sheeran testified that "most pop songs can fit over most pop songs." He also included his guitar in the testimony to play his 2014 song in an effort to show how the two songs are not identical but may be similar.

"To have someone come in and say, 'We don't believe you, you must have stolen it,'... I find that really insulting," Sheeran said, according to The New York Times.

In October 2022, Andrew M. Lieb, managing partner of Lieb at Law, P.C., told Newsweek that "The Ed Sheeran trial over Marvin Gaye's copyright claim is yet another example of how our nation's intellectual property system is broken."

"How does an artist know when similar works are commonplace enough to not infringe? In the era of technology, it's time for there to be an algorithmic-based test so artists know when works infringe rather than leaving it to filing procedures and the jury," Lieb told Newsweek.

In his video on Instagram, Sheeran said, "Unfortunately, unfounded claims like this are being fueled by individuals who are offered as music experts in musical analysis."

Take a listen to both songs and draw your own conclusion below.

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