US jury to decide if Ed Sheeran plagiarised Marvin Gaye classic

Sheeran's defence will now have to convince a jury in the US that his song does not copy Marvin Gaye

Sheeran's defence will now have to convince a jury in the US that his song does not copy Marvin Gaye's Lets Get It On. Picture: BEN BIRCHALL/PA - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

A US judge has ruled a jury will have to decide whether or not Ed Sheeran is guilty of plagiarising Marvin Gaye’s Let’s Get It On for his smash hit Thinking Out Loud.

In a district court Judge Louis Stanton rejected Sheeran’s request to dismiss the lawsuit, saying there were “substantial similarities between several of the two works’ musical elements”.

The singer, who grew up in Framlingham, profusely rejects the claim that he copied Gaye’s song.

Let’s Get It On was released in 1973 while Sheeran’s Grammy-winning Thinking Out Loud was included on the British artist’s X album in 2014.

The decision made public on Thursday, December 3.

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The lawsuit was brought by the estate and heirs of late producer Ed Townsend, who co-wrote Let’s Get It On with Gaye.

It names Sheeran, his co-writer Amy Padge, Sony/ATV Music Publishing and the Atlantic record label as defendants.

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During the judgement, Judge Stanton ruled it was disputed whether the harmonic rhythm of Let’s Get It On was deserving of copyright protection or whether it was too common.

He also said listeners could view them as having the same “aesthetic appeal”, as the defence argued Thinking Out Loud was characterised by “sombre, melancholic tones, addressing long-lasting romantic love” while Let’s Get It On was a “sexual anthem”.

Judge Stanton is presiding over two lawsuits alleging Sheeran copied Let’s Get It On.

In the other case, Structured Asset Sales (SAS), which owns one-third of Townsend’s estate, is suing for $100million (£79million).

Sheeran has also heard claims of plagiarism over his songs Photograph and Shape Of You.

He will perform his greatest hits in four massive shows at Chantry Park in Ipswich on August 23, 24, 25 and 26.

The first two dates are completely sold out, however some tickets are still available for the final two shows.

Sheeran is also performing at Roundhay Park in Leeds as part of his UK tour, which will see him play six shows during August in 2019.

Thinking Out Loud reached number one in the UK singles charts in November 2014, while Let’s Get It On hit number one in the US in September 1973.

Gaye was shot dead by his father in 1984 at the age of 44.

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