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Ed Sheeran wins Marvin Gaye copyright infringement trial

The English singer-songwriter went to trial over his hit 'Thinking Out Loud'

Musician Ed Sheeran arrives for his copyright infringement trial at Manhattan Federal Court
Ahad Sanwari
Ahad SanwariOnline News WriterNew York
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A federal jury has ruled in Ed Sheeran's favor in his copyright trial for the 2017 song 'Thinking Out Loud.'

The decision states that the singer did not copy elements of Marvin Gaye’s song 'Let's Get It On,' with the case having been launched against the singer by the heirs of Gaye's co-writer on the track, Ed Townsend.

Ed Sheeran Music Copyright Trial Begins In New York© Getty Images
Ed has won his copyright trial for "Thinking Out Loud"

During the trial, Ed, 32, played snippets of both songs on his guitar to prove the point that he had not borrowed elements from the 1973 hit.

The singer co-wrote the track with Amy Wadge and stated that it was inspired by his grandparents' relationship.

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He even stated in court that if he were to lose the trial, he would quit making music, saying: "If that happens, I'm done, I'm stopping," citing the toll the trial took on his life.

"I feel like the truth was heard and the truth was believed," the singer told People following the decision. "It's nice that we can both move on with our lives now – it's sad that it had to come to this."

Rhythm And Blues Singer Ed Townsend© Getty Images
The heirs of Ed Townsend filed the copyright infringement suit against the English singer

Townsend's daughter, Kathryn Townsend Griffin, was the primary plaintiff, supported by the late songwriter's sister Helen McDonald and the estate of his former wife Cherrigale Townsend. Kathryn, in her opening testimony, stated: "I have to protect my father's legacy."

The case was originally filed in 2017 but has seen several delays since then and finally went to trial earlier in 2023. The amount being sought in damages was unspecified, although insider reports suggest it could have been a multimillion dollar lawsuit.

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Just last year, Ed won an infringement case in the UK over his 2017 smash 'Shape of You,' after which he took to social media to share a statement on the impact such trials had on him, which you can see in the video below.

VIDEO: Ed Sheeran reacts after High Court win in "Shape of You" copyright battle

"There's only so many notes and very few chords used in pop music," he stated. "Lawsuits are not a pleasant experience, and I just hope with this ruling, baseless claims like this can be avoided. This really does have to end."

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