Singer-Songwriter Ed Sheeran Sued Over Claims He Copied Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On”

Media Expert Says If Star Did Infringe Copyright Rules, The Damages Could Be Significant

10.08.2016

Kate Rawlings, Press Officer | 0114 274 4238

A legal expert says that chart topper Ed Sheeran could face significant damages if the courts decide he infringed copyright rules, over claims he copied the classic track "Let's Get It On" on one of his own songs.

The track written by the British singer-songwriter and Amy Wadge, "Thinking Out Loud", topped the UK singles charts in November 2014 and became the first song to be streamed over 500 million times on Spotify.

The video to accompany the song has received over 1.2 billion views on YouTube.

Now the family of "Let's Get It On"s co-writer Ed Townsend have said they want a jury to decide if they're owed damages, believing Sheeran's song copied key parts of the 1973 classic.

The court papers state: "The Defendants copied the heart of "Let's" and repeated it continuously throughout "Thinking."

"The melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic compositions of "Thinking" are substantially and/or strikingly similar to the drum composition of "Let's."

Ed Sheeran and his record label are yet to issue a response but it is the second time the musician has been accused of allegedly copying another song.

In June, he was sued for $20 million by The X Factor winner Matt Cardle's songwriters who claimed that Sheeran's ballad "Photograph" was "a note-for-note copy" of their track 'Amazing."

In March 2015, Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams were ordered to pay out $7.3 million to Marvin Gaye's family following claims their controversial chart-topper "Blurred Lines" copied the Motown musician's 1977 track "Got To Give It Up." 

Expert Opinion
This is not the first time we’ve seen Marvin Gaye or Ed Sheeran’s music hit the headlines over copyright infringement issues.

The courts will initially have to decide whether Ed has a case to answer and if so, the matter will go in front of a jury.

The case over ‘Blurred Lines’ illustrated just how far juries are prepared to go in establishing infringement when they found that Robin and Pharrell had infringed Marvin Gaye’s song - “Got to Give it Up” - not because it had identical notes but because the “genre and feel” was the same.

Aurelia Butler-Ball, Associate