Jury Will Determine Whether Ed Sheeran’s ‘Thinking Out Loud’ Copied Marvin Gaye Classic

January 4, 2019, 1:47 PM UTC

A U.S. District Court judge has ruled that a jury should decide whether Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud” copied several parts of Marvin Gaye’s classic “Let’s Get It On.”

In a recent decision that was obtained by Sky News, District Court Judge Louis Stanton denied Sheeran’s attempt to have the copying lawsuit tossed out after finding what the judge called “substantial similarities between several of the two works’ musical elements.” The judge said that a jury should decide whether Sheeran copied Gaye and whether the rhythm in “Let’s Get It On” should be copy-protected in the first place.

Sheeran is actually facing two lawsuits over “Let’s Get It On.” The first, and the one the judge ruled on, was brought against Sheeran, his co-writer Amy Padge, Sony/ATV Music Publication, and Atlantic Records by the estate of Gaye’s co-writer Ed Townsend. A second lawsuit on the alleged infringement has been brought by Structured Asset Sales, which owns one-third of Townsend’s estate.

For his part, Sheeran said that he didn’t copy “Let’s Get It On.” He also argued that “Thinking Out Loud” has “sombre, melancholic tones” and centers on “long-lasting romantic love.” Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On,” Sheeran argued, is a “sexual anthem.”

Sheeran has been accused of plagiarism in the past and in 2017, settled a $20 million lawsuit with musicians Martin Harrington and Thomas Leonard. They accused Sheeran of copying their song “Amazing” in his own track “Photograph.”