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HomeMusicEd Sheeran wins 'Thinking Out Loud'-Marvin Gaye copyright trial

Ed Sheeran wins ‘Thinking Out Loud’-Marvin Gaye copyright trial

A New York jury sided with Ed Sheeran on Thursday, finding that he did not plagiarize Marvin Gaye’s classic song “Let’s Get It On.”

The trial concluded after a jury first met on April 24. Gaye collaborator Ed Townsend’s family sued the “Shape of You” singer for copyright infringement in 2016, claiming that his “Thinking Out Loud” — co-written with songwriter Amy Wadge — stole “the heart” from Gaye’s song by using “melodic, harmonic and rhythmic compositions” that are “substantially and/or strikingly similar to the drum composition” to Gaye’s sensual number.

The Associated Press reported Thursday that Sheeran celebrated his victory by briefly putting his hands over his face in relief before hugging his lawyer. Outside the courthouse, Sheeran delivered a statement, saying that he was “obviously very happy” with the case’s outcome.

“It looks like I’m not having to retire from my day job after all,” he joked, recalling a dramatic statement he made from the stand Monday. “But at the same time, I’m unbelievably frustrated that baseless claims like this are allowed to go to court at all.”

He continued by reflecting on musical chords as the “common building blocks which were used to create music” before and after the Gaye classic was written. He slammed the “bogus claims” at the center of similar copyright cases.

“It’s devastating to be accused of stealing someone else’s song when we put so much work into our livelihoods,” he added. “I’m just a guy with a guitar who loves writing music for people to enjoy. I am not and will never allow myself to be a piggy bank for anyone to shake.”

The copyright case has allegedly taken a toll on more than Sheeran’s professional life. The New York Post reported that the “Bad Habits” artist missed his grandmother’s funeral Wednesday in Ireland due to the legal proceedings.

“He’s so upset that he cannot be present — he has to be thousands of miles away in a court in America defending his integrity,” the singer’s father, John, said in a eulogy, according to the Post. “I know he is comforted by the fact that he was able to spend some precious time alone with his grandma just a month ago.”

Sheeran told the press Thursday, “I will never get that time back.”

On the third day of the weeklong trial, the plaintiff’s legal team presented the jury with a video of Sheeran performing a mashup of “Thinking Out Loud” and “Let’s Get It On” in concert. While attorney Ben Crump, who represents the Townsend family, called the clip “a smoking gun,” Sheeran denied he stole any musical element from Gaye.

The singer also reportedly got heated during the trial and sparred with Keisha Rice, another attorney who represented the Townsend family.

According to the Associated Press, Sheeran picked up his guitar on the fourth day of the trial and performed a few words from “Thinking Out Loud.” At the behest of his lawyer Ilene Farkas, Sheeran explained the writing process behind the song.

He said writing a song was second nature, and he used his “own version of phonetics” to quickly create songs. After giving a sample of his singing, Sheeran said, “and then words fall in.”

Then he turned to the jury and said, “I’m not the world’s most talented guitar player.”

On Monday the singer made a dramatic vow from the witness stand.

While he was testifying, Farkas asked what would happen if the plaintiffs won ownership over the chord progression in question.

“If that happens, I’m done — I’m stopping,” said Sheeran, 32, appearing to vow he would quit music if he lost, according to the New York Post. “I find it really insulting to work my whole life as a singer-songwriter and diminish it.”

After Thursday’s verdict, it seems that won’t be happening any time soon. He will release a new album, “Subtract,” on Thursday at 9 p.m. Pacific.

Amid the legal battle, Sheeran also announced that he will be hitting the road soon. On social media, the singer revealed that his Subtract tour will launch May 19 at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater, Fla.

Sheeran is set to perform at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles on Sept. 22 after stops in Oakland, Vancouver and Seattle.

Times staff writers Christi Carras and Jonah Valdez contributed to this report.

This story originally appeared on LA Times

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