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HomeMusicEd Sheeran blasts music expert for 'criminal' testimony in trial

Ed Sheeran blasts music expert for ‘criminal’ testimony in trial

Ed Sheeran continued thinking out loud Monday in a New York courtroom during his ongoing copyright-infringement case.

The British pop musician took the stand for a third time during the trial against him, this time offering a scathing review of the plaintiff’s music expert, Alexander Stewart. Stewart testified last week and drew similarities between the chords in the song “Thinking Out Loud,” which Sheeran co-wrote, and Marvin Gaye’s 1970s classic, “Let’s Get It On.”

“If I can be honest,” Sheeran said while on the witness stand during cross examination from the plaintiff’s attorney, Patrick Frank, on Day 5 of the trial. “I think what he’s doing here is criminal.”

Sheeran accused the musicologist of inaccurately rendering his melodies for the jury, according to the New York Times. He also said he couldn’t believe that somebody would listen to one of his songs and then “diminish it by saying I stole it.”

“I find it really insulting,” he added.

Sheeran’s track won the Grammy for song of the year in February 2016. Family members of Gaye’s late songwriting partner, Ed Townsend, sued Sheeran about six months later, alleging that he stole “the heart” of “Let’s Get It On” by using “melodic, harmonic and rhythmic compositions” that are “substantially and/or strikingly similar to the drum composition” of the 1973 tune.

Attorneys for Sheeran have countered in court documents and at trial that “the two songs share versions of a similar and unprotectable chord progression that was freely available to all songwriters.”

Sheeran’s music experts said in court filings that other songs — including the Seekers’ “Georgy Girl” and Donovan’s “Hurdy Gurdy Man” — also relied on a similar chord progression, according to the New York Times.

At the start of the trial, Townsend’s team played a video for the jury of Sheeran performing a mashup of “Thinking Out Loud” and “Let’s Get It On” in concert. Ben Crump, who represents the Townsend family, called the video a “smoking gun” and urged Sheeran to give “credit where credit is due.”

Sheeran‘s attorney Ilene Farkas rebutted by having the Grammy winner whip out his guitar on Friday and again Monday to play and sing for the jury. They demonstrated how the video played last week merely demonstrates mashups and how that allows artists to transition between songs.

He said he used the mashups to “spice it up a bit” during concerts, generally choosing songs that used similar chords.

“If it’s a love song, you might mash it up with another love song,” Sheeran said, suggesting that Elvis Presley’s version of “Can’t Help Falling in Love” or the Whitney Houston rendition of “I Will Always Love You,” written by Dolly Parton, would mash well with “Thinking Out Loud.”

Townsend’s family members are following in the footsteps of Gaye’s heirs, who previously won $7.4 million after suing Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams for modeling their chart-topping single “Blurred Lines” after Gaye’s “Got to Give It Up.”

Sheeran is scheduled to kick off a North American concert tour Saturday in Arlington, Texas. His new studio album, “Subtract,” comes out Friday.

Times staff writer Christi Carras and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

This story originally appeared on LA Times

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