A federal jury in Manhattan has sided with Ed Sheeran in the plagiarism trial that saw the pop songwriter accused of stealing elements of Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On” in the writing of Sheeran’s 2014 track “Thinking Out Loud.”
The suit was brought by heirs of the estate of Ed Townsend, a writer of “Let’s Get It On.” They contended that “Thinking Out Loud” used specific musical elements such as harmony and melody of “Let’s Get It On.” A video of Ed Sheeran performing a mash-up of “Thinking Out Loud” and “Let’s Get It On” was used as evidence, though the singer testified that he and the song’s co-writer Amy Wadge were in fact inspired by Van Morrison’s music.
Deliberations began on Wednesday (May 4) after the conclusion of the testimony. Prior to the start of the jury’s duties, U.S. District Court Judge Louis Stanton told them, “Independent creation is a complete defense, no matter how similar that song is.”
Yesterday, Sheeran said that a guilty verdict would lead to his retirement from music. “If that happens, I’m done. I’m stopping,” he said. “To have someone come in and say, ‘We don’t believe you, you must have stole it’… [I] find insulting… I find it really insulting to work my whole life as a singer-songwriter and diminish[es] it.”
The FADER has reached out to Ed Sheeran’s representative for a statement.