Ed Sheeran Played The Guitar Right In The Middle Of A Trial To Prove His Innocence

ByQuyen Anne

Mar 14, 2024

The famed Ed Sheeran has recently crossed off the second of three copyright battles concerning his 2014 hit “Thinking Out Loud” and its alleged similarities to Marvin Gaye’s 1973 classic “Let’s Get It On.” The journey began eight years ago when the heirs of Ed Townsend, co-writer of Gaye’s song, initiated the first lawsuit. Investment banker David Pullman, holding a stake in the copyright through Townsend, launched the second and third suits five years back.

Pullman’s initial lawsuit echoed the Townsend heirs’ argument, focusing on the sheet music similarities between the two songs. However, this claim was dismissed on May 16, following the precedent set by the dismissal of the case lodged by Townsend’s heirs.

A highlight of the legal proceedings came when Sheeran, trying to prove his point directly to the jury, picked up his guitar right there on the witness stand. He aimed to show that the chord progression and rhythm under scrutiny in “Thinking Out Loud” are common elements found in numerous songs, some even predating “Let’s Get It On.” The jury, after brief consideration on May 4, 2023, ruled in Sheeran’s favor, a decision that left the artist visibly overjoyed.

Ed Sheeran plays songs on guitar which helped him win copyright lawsuit

And of course, Ed Sheeran had every reason to celebrate. Reflecting on the ordeal, he shared how the lawsuit drained both his finances and mental well-being. The musician was so fixated on proving his innocence that he was even prepared to put his illustrious music career at stake.

Adding to the emotional toll, the timing of the court proceedings forced Sheeran to miss his grandmother’s funeral in Ireland. On a brighter note, “Eyes Closed,” the lead single from his newest album Subtract, debuted on May 5, just a day after the jury sided with him in the copyright dispute. You can listen to the song here.

Ed Sheeran plays a mash-up of songs on his guitar to show how he won

The initial lawsuit filed by David Pullman was immediately dismissed by District Judge Louis Stanton from Manhattan, who stated that the chord progression and harmonic rhythm cited are so widely used that granting exclusive rights to them would unfairly monopolize basic musical elements.

The only remaining lawsuit by Pullman, comparing the recordings of both “Thinking Out Loud” and “Let’s Get It On,” is still pending. Given the outcomes so far, expectations for a different verdict might be slim.

Sheeran’s latest album, Subtract, is the fastest-selling album in the UK this year so far, and also tops the charts in both the UK and the USA. For those eager to explore more of Ed Sheeran’s work, you can follow the artist on YouTube, Facebook, or Instagram. His official website is also rich with updates and information.

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