Jury to deliberate on Ed Sheeran copyright case

Ed Sheeran’s music future in the hands of jury who will decide in $100m copyright trial if he ripped off Marvin Gaye song to make his hit ‘Thinking Out Loud’

  • The jury in Ed Sheeran’s copyright trial has been sent out for deliberations
  • Jurors were dismissed Wednesday following closing statements from attorneys
  • They will convene Thursday to decide the fate of Sheeran’s musical career 

Ed Sheeran’s musical future is now in the hands of the jury as they deliberate a verdict in his $100million copyright trial alleging one of his songs ripped off a Marvin Gaye track.

The jurors were sent home shortly after closing arguments Wednesday and will return Thursday morning to deliberate.

Sheeran has vehemently denied the allegations that his song ‘Thinking Out Loud’ stole fundamental musical elements from Marvin Gaye’s ‘Let’s Get it On.’ The lawsuit was brought on by the heirs of the song’s co-writer, Ed Townsend.

The 32-year-old has been so outspoken about his stance that he staked his whole career on it, vowing that he will be ‘done’ with music if found guilty. 

His lawyer, Ilene Farkas, told the jurors in Manhattan federal court that similarities in the chord progressions and rhythms of Gaye’s classic and Sheeran’s ‘Thinking Out Loud’ were ‘the letters of the alphabet of music.’

‘These are basic musical building blocks that songwriters now and forever must be free to use, or all of us who love music will be poorer for it,’ she said.

Ed Sheeran arrives at a Manhattan federal court on May 3 before closing statements

Sheeran has vehemently denied that he ripped of Marvin Gaye’s song ‘Let’s Get it On’

Sheeran leaves the Manhattan federal court after the closing statements at his trial

Keisha Rice, who represents Townsend’s heirs, said her clients were not claiming to own basic musical elements but rather ‘the way in which these common elements were uniquely combined.’

‘Mr. Sheeran is counting on you to be very, very overwhelmed by his commercial success,’ she said, urging jurors to use their ‘common sense’ to decide whether the songs are similar.

Sheeran has said that if he looses the $100million suit, it could be the end of his music career. 

‘If that happens, I’m done, I’m stopping,’ Sheeran said when asked during the trial about the toll the case has taken. 

‘I find it really insulting to devote my whole life to being a performer and a songwriter and have someone diminish it.’

A jury is set to resume deliberations on Thursday in the $100million case 

Townsend’s heirs in 2017 sued Sheeran, his label Warner Music Group and his music publisher Sony Music Publishing, claiming infringement of their copyright interest in the Gaye song.

Sheeran and his co-writer, Amy Wadge, both testified during the trial that they did not copy ‘Let’s Get It On.’ Sheeran said he had only passing familiarity with the song and that ‘Thinking Out Loud’ was inspired by Irish musician Van Morrison.

Gaye, who died in 1984, collaborated with Townsend, who died in 2003, to write ‘Let’s Get It On,’ which topped the Billboard charts in 1973. ‘Thinking Out Loud’ peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2015.

Sheeran is also facing claims over ‘Thinking Out Loud’ in the same court from a company owned by investment banker David Pullman that holds copyright interests in the Gaye song.

Sheeran won a trial in London last year in a separate copyright case over his hit ‘Shape of You.’

Gaye’s heirs in 2015 won a $5.3 million judgment from a lawsuit claiming the Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams song ‘Blurred Lines’ copied Gaye’s ‘Got to Give It Up.’

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