Ed Sheeran Won't Quit the Music Industry After Winning Plagiarism Lawsuit Over His Hit "Thinking Out Loud"
Ed Sheeran won't be quitting the music industry after all, as a Manhattan federal court found today that the singer is not liable for a copyright claim made by the estate of songwriter Ed Townsend.
Sheeran had been accused of copying key elements from Marvin Gaye's 1973 hit song "Let's Get It On," co-written by Townsend, for his 2014 single "Thinking Out Loud." After just a few hours of jury deliberation, however, the 32-year-old star was cleared of the copyright infringement allegations.
Had Sheeran been found liable, he previously claimed under oath that he would quit the music industry altogether. “It looks like I’m not going to have to give up my day job after all,” he said in a statement after the verdict was handed down.
"We need songwriters and the writing community to come together to bring back common sense," Sheeran added. "These claims must be stopped so the creative process can carry on and we can all get back to making music. And at the same time we absolutely need trusted individuals, real experts, to help support the process and protect copyright."
Marvin Gaye's estate previously sued Robin Thicke and Pharrell for $5 million over similarities between the pair's 2013 hit single "Blurred Lines" and Gaye's 1977 song "Got to Give It Up," in a decision that's credited with inspiring a flurry of music copyright lawsuits. Some experts were worried that a victory by Townsend's estate in the case could further lower the bar for copyright violation claims.
During the trial, Sheeran argued that neither he nor his co-writer Amy Wadge had been thinking about "Let's Get It On" when they penned the track, and that he typically pulls inspiration from whatever is going on in his life when he's writing music. He even brought his guitar to the courtroom and played the song before the jury to demonstrate his creative process.
"Thinking Out Loud" won Sheeran his first Grammy and remains the most popular song in his catalog, having sold over 12 million copies.