The copyright infringement claim against Ed Sheeran, Sony/ATV Music Publishing, and Atlantic Records for Sheeran's 2014 song "Thinking Out Loud" has moved forwards: but not how singer would have liked. We have previously reported on the dispute here. The claim was issued by the estate and heirs of the late producer Ed Townsend, who co-wrote "Let's Get It On" with Marvin Gaye. It is that song that the estate argues Sheeran has copied.
In the first week of 2019, US Judge Louis Stanton revealed his decision to reject Sheeran's request to dismiss the claim of copyright infringement. He further announced that a jury should decide the dispute. Sheeran adamantly denies copying.
At the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, Judge Stanton gave his opinion that there were substantial similarities in the musical elements of both songs, specifically in the bass line and percussion. The judge commented that he was unsure which view the jury will side with.
Sheeran et al, however, argue that the harmonic and rhythmic composition of the 1973 classic is too common to merit copyright protection. Sheeran has previously claimed that Gaye's song was a "sexual anthem" while Thinking Out Loud addresses long-lasting, romantic love with somber melancholic tones.
While the family of Ed Townsend are looking forward to the case being heard in court, Sheeran and the record companies have not publicly responded to Judge Stanton's ruling.
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