Ed Sheeran beats second copyright lawsuit in two weeks (2023)

British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran on Tuesday beat a second copyright lawsuit in federal court in Manhattan over similarities between his hit 'Thinking Out Loud' and Marvin Gaye's 'Let's Get It On.'

District Judge Louis Stanton dismissed the case brought by Structured Asset Sales LLC (SAS), ruling that the parts of 'Let's Get It On' Sheeran was accused of infringing were too common for copyright protection.

Sheeran won a separate jury trial over the songs in the same court earlier this month, which was brought by the heirs of co-writerGaye's Ed Townsend.

Stanton presided over both cases, with the earlier case - which did go to trial - concerning Townsend's share of Gaye's 1973 classic. Townsend's heirs failed to convince jurors Sheeran infringed their part of Townsend's copyright in the song.

SAS is owned by investment banker and 'Bowie Bonds' creator David Pullman, and it owns part of Townsend's interest in 'Let's Get It On.'

Ed Sheeran (seen in Manhattan on May 4) on Tuesday beat a second copyright lawsuit in federal court in Manhattan over similarities between his hit 'Thinking Out Loud' and Marvin Gaye's 'Let's Get It On'

It sued Sheeran, his label Warner Music Group and his music publisher Sony Music Publishing in 2018 after Townsend's heirs filed their lawsuit.

READ MORE:Ed Sheeran bags SIXTH consecutive number one album with Subtract following wife's cancer diagnosis, death of Jamal Edwards, battle with depression and copyright court case

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Stanton on Tuesday found that the combination of chord progression and harmonic rhythm in Gaye's song was a 'basic musical building block' that was too common to merit copyright protection.

Sheeran's attorney Ilene Farkas called the decision 'an important victory not only for Ed' and collaborator Amy Wadge, 'but for all songwriters and consumers of music.'

Structured Asset Sales has filed another lawsuit against Sheeran based on its rights to Gaye's recording, which is still pending.

Pullman told Reuters news agency that the jury in that case will get to hear the recording of 'Let's Get It On,' as opposed to the computerized rendition of the song's sheet music from the Townsend trial.

(Video) Ed Sheeran Testifies in Copyright Lawsuit Involving Marvin Gaye's 'Let's Get It On'

SAS's case specifically alleged copyright infringement against the sheet music of Gaye's Let's Get It On.

'Their biggest fear, in terms of everything they've filed, has been to prevent the sound recording from coming in,' Pullman said.

At the first trial earlier this month, Sheeran broke down in tearsafter the jury found his hit song did not copy Marvin Gaye's classic.

As the jury at Manhattan federal court cleared Sheeran of infringing copyright, he briefly put his hands over his face in relief before standing and hugging his lawyer.

Speaking outside the court, he said: 'I'm just a guy with a guitar who loves writing music for people to enjoy. I am not and will not allow myself to be a piggy bank.'

Sheeran's attorney Ilene Farkas called the decision 'an important victory not only for Ed' and collaborator Amy Wadge, 'but for all songwriters and consumers of music.' Pictured:Sheeran performs onstage

Sheeran added:'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.

'At the same time I'm unbelievably frustrated that baseless claims like this are allowed to go to court at all.

'We've spent the last eight years talking about two songs with dramatically different lyrics, melodies and four chords which are also different and used by songwriters every day all over the world.

'These chords are common building blocks which were used to create music long before Let's Get It On was written and will be used to create music long after we are all gone.

'They are in a songwriter's alphabet, our toolkit, and should be there for all of us to use.No one owns them or the way they are played, in the same way that no one owns the color blue.'

He added that if the verdict had gone the other way 'we might as well say goodbye to the creative freedom of songwriters' and that artists need to be able to create original music 'without worrying at every step on the way that said creativity will be wrongly called into question'.

'It is devastating to be accused of stealing someone else's song when we put so much work into our livelihoods,' he added.

(Video) Ed Sheeran talks copyright lawsuit, new tour and 'Subtract' l GMA

Sheeran has vehemently denied the allegations that his song stole fundamental musical elements from Marvin Gaye's song

The singer also said he missed his grandmother's funeral in Ireland because of the trial, and that he 'won't get that time back'.

His co-writer Amy Wadge said she and Sheeran 'had a few tears' of relief after winning the $100million case.

Juror Sophia Neis, 23, said a key factor in swaying the verdict Sheeran's way was his performance of the song during the trial.

'It's obviously cool to have anyone play music in front of you live,' Neis said. 'So that was an interesting surprise decision because you're comparing music to a sheet. But it was very cool to hear Sheeran play in court.'

From George Harrison's 'subconscious' theft to Robin Thicke's stolen lines - a short history of famous music copyright cases


Sheeran's victory in Manhattan Thursday was his second such case in two years, after he also won a plagiarism battle over his 2017 hit Shape Of You.

A judge in the UK High Court ruled that Sheeran had not copied the 2015 song Oh Why by Sami Chokri.

The grime artist, who performs under the name Sami Switch, had claimed the 'Oh I' hook in Shape Of You was 'strikingly similar' to an 'Oh why' refrain on his track.

Sheeran said after the ruling that such 'baseless' claims were 'way too common'.

Sami Chokri (left, outside court in 2022) and Ross O'Donoghue (right) had claimed Sheeran ripped off their song 2015 song Oh Why with his 2017 tune Shape of You

(Video) Ed Sheeran Shows on His Guitar How He Won His Copyright Lawsuit

Judge Antony Zacaroli ruled that Sheeran had 'neither deliberately nor subconsciously copied' Chokri's song.

He recognised 'similarities between the one-bar phrase' in Shape of You and Oh Why, but said 'such similarities are only a starting point for a possible infringement' of copyright.

He added that there were 'differences between the relevant parts' of the songs, which 'provide compelling evidence that the 'Oh I' phrase' in Sheeran's song 'originated from sources other than Oh Why'.

During the case, Sheeran appeared stung by the accusation that he had stolen another artist's work without giving them due credit.

Chokri and his co-write Ross O'Donoghue were ordered to pay Sheeran $1.1million in legal fees after the case.


Sheeran settled out of court after being accused of copying the track 'Amazing', recorded by British X-Factor winner Matt Cardle (pictured)

Sheeran also faced a copyright suit over his hit song Photograph after he was accused of 'note-for-note copying' the track 'Amazing', recorded by British X Factor winner Matt Cardle.

The case was reportedly settled out of court after the song's writers had filed a lawsuit in 2016 seeking $20million.

Martin Harrington and Thomas Leonard's complaint said Sheeran and his writing partner 'copied and exploited... the work of other active, professional songwriters, on a breathtaking scale, unabashedly taking credit for the work of these songwriters...'

The lawsuit alleged that the chorus of “Photograph” and Cardle’s “Amazing” share 39 identical notes.


Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams were ordered to pay the family of Marvin Gaye $5million after they were found to have copied one of his hits.

The duo were found to have copied Gaye's 1977 hit Got to Give It Up for their track Blurred Lines.

Gaye's family initially won the case in 2015, which was upheld by a California court on appeal in 2018.

The family were also awarded 50 percent of all future royalties earned by Blurred Lines.

But the $5million payout was a fraction of the $16.6m Williams and Thicke were revealed to have made from the song during the initial trial.

(Video) EXCLUSIVE: Hear from the people who accused Ed Sheeran of copyright infringement

Some within the music industry slammed the initial verdict for punishing Thicke's song over copying the 'feel' of Gaye's classic - rather than directly plagiarizing musical phrases or lyrics.

The appeal court also split on this, and one of the three judges dissented from the ruling.

Circuit Judge Jacqueline Nguyen said the two songs 'differed in melody, harmony and rhythm' and wrote that the verdict 'strikes a devastating blow to future musicians and composers everywhere'.

The verdict sparked a number of similar cases against artists including Sheeran, Bruno Mars, Mark Ronson, Madonna and Miley Cyrus.


Rock legends Led Zeppelin won a six-year legal tussle to prove they had not copied a song by Randy California for their iconic track 'Stairway to Heaven'.

The estate of the late California filed a lawsuit in 2014 alleging that the Zeppelin song had been nicked from the single 'Taurus' by the 1960s band Spirit, for whom California had been the lead guitarist.

In 2020, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a jury verdict that found the song had not been copied.

Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant told the BBC in 2021: 'There are zillions and zillions of songs that are carrying the same chord progression, so it was very unfortunate, and it was unpleasant for everybody.'

Led Zeppelin pictured at the 1969 Bath Festival. From left, John Paul Jones, Robert Plant, John Bonham, Jimmy Page


Harrison (second from left) with The Beatles in 1967

Former Beatle George Harrison was found guilty of 'subconsciously' plagiarizing the 1962 John Mack tune 'He's So Fine' for his 1970 hit 'My Sweet Lord'.

The 1976 case saw Judge Richard Owen of the US District Court in Manhattan find Harrison guilty of copyright infringement but 'not deliberately'.

Owen, himself a composer, said: 'It is clear that My Sweet Lord is the very same song as 'He's So Fine.' This is, under the law infringement of copyright and is no less so even though subconsciously accomplished.'


Owen said it was apparent from the trial evidence that Harrison had not been conscious of the fact that he was plagiarizing the theme of 'He's So Fine'.

But he added: 'In seeking musical materials to clothe his thought...there came to the surface of his mind a particular combination that pleased him as being one he felt would be appealing to a prospective listener...[Mr. Harrison's subconscious mind] knew this combination of sounds would work because it already had worked in a song his conscious mind did not remember.'


Why did Ed Sheeran take a break from music? ›

It seems Ed truly needed to look out for himself around then. Last night on the Jonathan Ross show the 26-year-old singer-songwriter explained how he very much needed to get away and be free of substance abuse. He said the pressures of fame became too much and that he wouldn't be sober when he needed to be.

What is Ed Sheeran's net worth? ›

Thanks to hits like “Shape of You,” “Bad Habits,” “Castle on the Hill” and “Perfect,” Grammy Award winning singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran has an estimated net worth of $200 million dollars, according to CelebrityNetWorth.com.

When did thinking out loud come out? ›

"Thinking Out Loud" is a song by English singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran recorded for his second studio album, × (2014). It was written by Julian Williams, Sheeran and Amy Wadge, and produced by frequent collaborator Jake Gosling. It was released in the US on 24 September 2014 as the album's third single.

Who wrote Let's get it on? ›

The title track of Gaye's album of the same name, it was written by Marvin Gaye and producer Ed Townsend. "Let's Get It On" became Gaye's most successful single for Motown and one of his most well-known songs.

Did Ed Sheeran break his wrist? ›

The singer broke his right wrist and left elbow in a bicycle accident in October, which meant that he had to pull out of a number of dates of his Asian tour.

Is Ed Sheeran richer than Adele? ›

For those under 35, Ed Sheeran, 32, is ranked the seventh wealthiest with a fortune of £300m, helped by his fast-selling sixth album "Subtract". Adele, who is now 35, is in ninth place with £165m.

Who is the richest singer of all time? ›

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Who is the wealthiest singer in the world? ›

These are the top 20 richest singers in the world
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What is Ed Sheeran wedding song? ›

Sheeran wrote this love ballad before he got married, with his wife-to-be in mind.

Who is Ed Sheeran wife? ›

Who is Ed Sheeran married to? ›

The star's childhood sweetheart, Cherry Seaborn, who he married in 2019, was told she had a tumour while pregnant with their second child. There was "no route to treatment until after the birth", he explained. At the time, the star was in court every day facing a copyright trial.

Who won the Thinking Out Loud lawsuit? ›

Ed Sheeran has defeated a second lawsuit that alleged he imitated Marvin Gaye's Let's Get It On for his song Thinking Out Loud, two weeks after he prevailed in another high-profile copyright case regarding the two songs.

Which singer had a 1973 hit with the song Let's Get It On? ›

Let's Get It On is the classic thirteenth studio album by American soul singer, songwriter, and producer Marvin Gaye. It was released on August 28, 1973, by the Motown subsidiary label Tamla Records on LP.

How old is Ed Sheeran? ›

What song made Ed Sheeran famous? ›

Ed's international success began on 26th April 2011 when he appeared on Later... with Jools Holland, where he first performed his debut single. 'The A-Team' served as the lead single from his debut studio album '+' and the single sold 58,000 copies in the first week, becoming a top ten hit in eight countries.

Who is Ed Sheeran's boss? ›

Ben Cook, who gave Ed Sheeran his first record deal, has shocked the music industry by stepping down as president of Atlantic Records. It comes after the executive admitted causing offence by dressing up as a member of Run DMC at a birthday party.

Who is the biggest Ed Sheeran fan? ›

Ed Sheeran has agreed to 'marry' his biggest fan, 19-year-old Katie Papworth, who is gravely ill with cancer. The singer was performing in Glasgow on Thursday when he accepted a ring and a proposal from Katie, who lost her sight to an aggressive form of brain cancer recently.

Did Ed Sheeran suffer from addiction? ›

Singer Ed Sheeran has revealed his struggles with drugs, alcohol and depression following his friend Jamal Edwards' death last year. In a wide-ranging interview with Rolling Stone, Sheeran said he tried several types of drugs - which he refused to name - in his twenties when he "used to be a party boy".

What kind of disability does Ed Sheeran have? ›

Ed Sheeran, 32, revealed last week in a Rolling Stone interview that he has dealt with an eating disorder as a result of working in the entertainment industry and constantly being compared to other male stars.

Why did Ed Sheeran stop wearing glasses? ›

Whereas in 2021, Ed Sheeran revealed that he doesn't wear glasses anymore because he recently got done with laser eye treatment for better vision of his eyes. He admitted that he styles himself with the same glasses only for fashion.

Where does Ed Sheeran make his money? ›

Much of his money comes from his albums. After putting out five independent albums, trying to gain the interest of a record label, Sheeran released his debut LP in 2011. He has five major releases and is writing songs for his sixth album.

What is Adele's income? ›

Adele 2023 – Bio, Age, Height
Full NameAdele Laurie Blue Adkins MBE
Net Worth (2022)$220 Million
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6 more rows
May 11, 2023

Is Adele the most successful singer? ›

Adele is one of the best-selling music artists, with sales of over 100 million records worldwide. She was named as the best-selling artist of the 2010s decade in the US and worldwideas well as best-selling female artist of the 21st century in the UK.

Who is the most popular singer in the world? ›

Abel Tesfaye, more commonly known as The Weeknd, is statistically the most popular musician on the planet, and no one else even comes close. The 33-year-old Canadian singer's success has seen him set two new Guinness World Records titles: Most monthly listeners on Spotify – 111.4 million (as of 20 March 2023)

Is Taylor Swift a billionaire? ›

Swift's net worth was $570 million in 2022, according to Forbes.

How rich is Ariana Grande? ›

The American singer, songwriter and actress was named the highest-paid female music celebrity when she ranked 17th on the 2020 Forbes Celebrity 100 list. According to Celebrity Net Worth, Ariana Grande's net worth till April 2023 stands at USD 240 million.

Who is the richest woman in the world? ›

There are 337 women on the 2023 World's Billionaires list, including a familiar face as the world's wealthiest. T he reign of Françoise Bettencourt Meyers continues.

Who sold the most records of all time? ›

Perhaps unsurprisingly, British rock band The Beatles are top of the list for best-selling artists worldwide, with 183 million units certified sales. Second is Garth Brooks with over 157 million units sales, followed by Elvis Presley with 139 million units.

How rich is Taylor Swift? ›

Taylor Swift has a net worth of $570 million as of 2022, and a sprawling real estate portfolio.

Who is Ed Sheeran's love? ›

All About Cherry Seaborn, Ed Sheeran's Wife, Daughters' Mom, and Musical Muse. Ed Sheeran keeps a low profile most of the time, but he's been happily taken and married for years—and inspired by his love and mother of his daughters Cherry Seaborn musically.

What does Ed Sheeran call his daughter? ›

Does Ed Sheeran love his wife? ›

In an Instagram photo announcing the happy news, Sheeran wrote, "We are completely in love with her." In May 2022, Sheeran announced that he and Seaborn had welcomed their second child.

Did Ed Sheeran take a break from music? ›

LONDON: British singer Ed Sheeran has announced that he is taking a break from music and social media. The 'Perfect' singer released a statement on Instagram on Tuesday, saying that the hiatus will enable him to "go out and see some more of the world". "Hello all.

How did Ed Sheeran break through? ›

In February 2010, Sheeran posted a video through SB.TV – a channel launched by British entrepreneur Jamal Edwards – and rapper Example invited Sheeran to tour with him. In the same month, he also released his critically acclaimed Loose Change EP, which featured his future debut single, "The A Team".

How long did Ed Sheeran take a break? ›

Ed Sheeran has answered the question we've all been wanting to know - why exactly he took a year off. He has always said that it was because he wanted to tour the world as a tourist rather than as an artist so that he could finally see it properly.

What did Ed Sheeran do at 16? ›

A clip has emerged of Ed Sheeran auditioning for a boy band on short-lived TV show 'Britannia High' in 2007 - four years before he became a household name. A 16-year-old Ed Sheeran can be seen singing and dancing in a bid to win a place at the fictional performing arts school.

Which singer has overtaken Ed Sheeran? ›

Lewis Capaldi overtakes Ed Sheeran with the UK's most-streamed song of all time - BBC News.

What record did Ed Sheeran break? ›

Global popstar Ed Sheeran made a heartfelt statement after he broke the record for largest concert attendance in Australia - a day after he set it. Ed Sheeran paid tribute to Shane Warne and Michael Gudinski at a record-breaking show at Melbourne MCG on Thursday night.

When did Ed Sheeran divide? ›

÷ ("Divide") is the third studio album by English singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran. It was released on 3 March 2017 through Asylum Records and Atlantic Records. "Castle on the Hill" and "Shape of You" were released as the album's lead singles on 6 January 2017.

Did Ed Sheeran get his eye fixed? ›

He mused: 'I'm always kind of looking the same and dressing the same. Although I got my eyes lasered and I've lost quite a bit of weight so I do look a bit different. ' Ed Sheeran on his NEW SINGLE Bad Habits, Lasik Eye Surgery and Fatherhood!

How many pounds did Ed Sheeran lose? ›

Back in 2018, Ed Sheeran wowed fans when he debuted his 50-pound weight loss. The singer hadn't spoken extensively about his diet and lifestyle up until that point. But after losing the weight and attracting attention from fans and the press, he opened up about what his lifestyle was like before shedding the pounds.


1. Did Ed Sheeran Copy Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On"?
2. Ed Sheeran did not infringe on copyright of 'Let's Get It On,' jury finds
3. Why the Ed Sheeran lawsuit makes no sense
(Adam Neely)
4. Ed Sheeran Wins Copyright Case Over 'Thinking Out Loud'
(Bloomberg Quicktake)
5. 6 Ed Sheeran Songs That 'Rip Off' Other Artists
(David Bennett Piano)
6. UPDATE: Ed Sheeran vs Marvin Gaye Lawsuit
(Rick Beato)
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