Ed Sheeran is making his case in a New York court after he was accused of copying parts of Marvin Gaye’s hit song Let’s Get It On for his own 2015 track, Thinking Out Loud.
The 32-year-old singer-songwriter said he would have been an ‘idiot’ to copy the 1973 hit, and that many pop songs are ‘built on building blocks’ of other work.
Let’s Get It On was co-written by the late Ed Townsend, who died in 2003, and his heir Kathryn Griffin Townsend is leading the trial.
Gaye, who died in 1984, was a legendary R&B/Soul singer known for many hits including Sexual Healing, What’s Going On, Ain’t No Mountain High Enough, and I Heard It Through the Grapevine, while Let’s Get It On is one of his most famous tracks.
When questioned by Townsend’s legal team about the alleged similarities between the songs, the Shape Of You singer made his case.
‘If I’d done what you’re accusing me of doing, I’d be an idiot to stand on stage in front of 20,000 people [and do that],’ he told the lawyer, according to People.
‘It is my belief that most pop songs are built on building blocks that have been freely available for 100s of years.’
The long-running dispute began in 2016 when Townsend’s heirs accused Sheeran of copying the ‘heart’ of Let’s Get It On, including the harmony, melody and rhythm of the song.
The trial began yesterday and is expected to last all week.
If it is found that the Perfect singer is liable to copyright infringement, he could have to sit a second trial to settle how much he and his record labels should pay.
In 2022, Sheeran won a copyright trial in London in a separate case involving his number one hit Shape Of You, which he later called a ‘traumatising’ experience.
Meanwhile, Gaye’s heirs won a famous case in 2015 against Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams over their song Blurred Lines, which they claimed copied Got To Give It Up.
Sheeran is just about to release his latest album, ‘-’ (Subtract) on May 5.
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