British pop star Ed Sheeran denied on Tuesday in a New York court that his song “Thinking Out Loud”, which achieved great international success, was older than any plagiarism from American Marvin Gaye’s famous song “Let’s Get It On”.
This is the second such case he faces before the High Court in London, which ruled in his favor in a case in which two musicians accused him of plagiarism from one of their works in his popular song “Shape of You”.
This time, the ones suing are the descendants of Ed Townsend, a musician and producer who collaborated with Gaye on his 1973 hit song.
The New York Times, which was present in the courtroom, reported that Sheeran told prosecutors, “Yes, I wrote Thinking Out Loud with (composer) Amy Wedge.”
The artist bowed his head upon his arrival at the Manhattan Federal Courthouse, wearing a black suit over a white shirt with a blue tie, and did not make any statement to the media gathered in front of her.
He was followed by his daughter Townsend (Katherine Townsend Griffin), who told reporters she was “here for justice, and to protect the intellectual property” of her father.
In the lawsuit, the heirs considered that “there are significant similarities and clear commonalities” between Gaye’s song and “Thinking Out Loud”, which Sheeran released in 2014.
The Townsend family believed that the evidence for this was that the band “Boys to Men” mixed the two songs during a concert for them, and that Sheeran combined the two works into one song that he performs at his concerts, as a video clip appears on the Internet.
And the “New York Times” indicated that Attorney Crump relied during the court session on a video clip that a fan filmed during a concert in 2014 showing Ed Sheeran “merging” his song with a song by Marvin Gaye. The lawyer saw this as “concrete evidence” and even a “confession”.
Ed Sheeran admitted that he “mixes one song with another” in his concerts, while his attorney, Elaine Farkas, confirmed that he created “Thinking Out Loud” independently and did not copy “Let’s Get It On”, despite the musical similarity between the two songs.
The defense team pointed out that “dozens of songs, if not hundreds, before and after “Let’s Get It On”, use the same or similar frequency of melodies.”
And the song “Thinking Out Loud” appeared on the top 100 songs in the United States upon its release, and Sheeran won a Grammy Award for it in the category of “Song of the Year” in 2016.
As he did in New York, Ed Sheeran appeared in person to defend his song “Shape of You” at the previous trial in London.
And the London court considered that Sheeran did not resort “neither intentionally nor inadvertently” to copying part of the melody of Sami Shoukry and Ross O’Donohue “Oh Way” (2015) for use in his song “Shape of You”.
At the time, Judge Anthony Zaccaroli determined that while there were “intuitive similarities” between the two songs, such similarities were also present in numerous other pop, rock, folk, and blues songs.
African-American Marvin Gaye is considered one of the most important soul and pop artists of the twentieth century. He was born in 1939 in Washington, and his father killed him in 1984 in Los Angeles after an argument on the eve of his forty-fifth birthday.