On Tuesday, April 25, Ed Sheeran appeared in federal court in Manhattan for his trial on a claim that he stole parts of Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get it On” for his own use.
As he maneuvered through a throng of reporters and cameras in front of the lower Manhattan courthouse, the four-time Grammy Award winner maintained silence.
The case, which began Monday with jury selection, will decide whether Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud” ripped off parts of Gaye’s iconic 1973 soul classic.
The “Shape of You” singer is being sued by the heirs of late Ed Townsend – who co-wrote the song with Gaye – claiming that Sheeran should share the wealth from his profits from his 2014 track.
Townsend’s camp claim the British singer-songwriter’s megahit used a too similar melody as “Let’s Get it On,” in addition to other musical elements that created the “heart” of Gaye’s hit song, the lawsuit states.
The trial has been delayed for several years.
The suit was filed in 2017.
On Monday, April 24, several potential jurors were dismissed from serving because of their knowledge of Sheeran and their previous ties to the music industry, including one potential panelist telling the judge that Sheeran’s “Perfect” was her wedding song in 2018.
If Sheeran violated the copyright, the jury must determine whether Sheeran should be held accountable.
Townsend’s daughter Kathryn Townsend Griffin said Tuesday she was seeking “justice” for her dad by pursuing the suit.
“I am here for justice protecting my father’s intellectual properties,” she said as she made her way into the courthouse. “All I’m expecting is his name to be honoured and his work and his legacy, and the fact that I want all artists’ intellectual properties protected by the individual who oversee our royalties.”