Ed Sheeran talks about the impact of copyright lawsuits on songwriters
Ed Sheeran is making his perspective clear on the power of copyright claims when it comes to songwriting.
In a newly released interview between the Grammy-winning artist and Apple Music’s Zane Lowe -- which was conducted last month ahead of Sheeran's latest copyright infringement trial -- the musician touched on the recent litigation surrounding his 2014 hit song, “Thinking Out Loud,” and why he wants his opinion to be heard.
“This is the thing, even with the lawsuit stuff. When people are like, "Don't talk about it, don't talk about it,’ I'm like, ‘Why? What do you think my opinion is? This is my opinion,’” Sheeran told Apple Music. “Obviously, I'm f-ing fighting it.”
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The four-time Grammy-winning artist is currently defending against in an ongoing copyright lawsuit over Sheeran's hit song “Thinking Out Loud” and Marvin Gaye’s 1973 classic, “Let’s Get It On,” brought by the family of Ed Townsend, a co-writer of the song.
“The thing with these cases, it's not usually songwriters that are suing songwriters. I mean sometimes it is, but it's not,” said Sheeran. “I feel like in the songwriting community, everyone sort of knows that there's four chords primarily that are used and there's eight notes.”
The family accused Sheeran of copying the song's four-chord progression, rhythm, and other elements. The singer denies the allegations.
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Last week, Sheeran performed a mash-up of his songs and Marvin Gaye’s in court in order to demonstrate how common the four-chord progression was for his hit and others.
The singer testified that his producers referred to “Thinking Out Loud” as Sheeran’s Van Morrison song because of the similarities between the Irish singer and Sheeran, who shares Irish heritage. On Wednesday, the jury heard closing arguments on the week-long copyright trial. They are set to return Thursday morning to deliberate.
This isn’t the first time that Sheeran has found himself at the center of a copyright controversy. Last year, a London court ruled in favor of the musician in a suit involving his 2017 song, “Shape of You.”
In Sheeran's April conversation with Lowe, he claimed that he’s gone to other artists to clear songs he thought may sound similar. For example, reaching out to Coldplay’s Chris Martin about a song.
"I had a song that I wrote for Keith Urban and it sort of sounded like a Coldplay song,” said Sheeran, referring to the song “Parallel Line.” “So I emailed Chris Martin and I said, ‘This sounds like your tune. Can we clear it?’ And he went, ‘Don't be ridiculous. No.’”
Sheeran continued, "...He was just like, nah, I know how songs are written. And I know you didn't go into the studio and go, I want to write this."
Sheeran told Lowe that he would “never” consider litigation toward other musicians.
“I would just never do it. I'd just never do it. I feel like if people felt that they had, would come to me... And I've cleared songs for people that have come,” said Sheeran.
Zane Lowe’s full interview with Ed Sheeran airs Thursday on Apple Music
Ed Sheeran talks about the impact of copyright lawsuits on songwriters originally appeared on goodmorningamerica.com