Ed Sheeran faces U.S. copyright trial over Marvin Gaye’s ‘Let’s Get It On’



By Blake Brittain

(Reuters) – Jury choice is about to start on Monday in Manhattan federal court docket for a trial over claims that British pop famous person Ed Sheeran owes a share of income from his hit “Pondering Out Loud” for copying Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On.”

Heirs of songwriter Ed Townsend sued Sheeran, his label Warner Music Group and music writer Sony Music Publishing for allegedly ripping off Gaye’s basic, which Townsend co-wrote.

The trial is the primary of three Sheeran might face from lawsuits over similarities between the 2 hits.

Warner Music Group, Sony Music Publishing and attorneys for each side didn’t instantly reply to requests for touch upon the case.

Marvin Gaye collaborated with Townsend to write down “Let’s Get It On,” which topped the Billboard charts in 1973. Sheeran’s “Pondering Out Loud” peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Scorching 100 in 2015.

Townsend’s heirs sued Sheeran for copyright infringement in 2017, claiming “Pondering Out Loud” copied the “coronary heart” of Gaye’s tune together with its melody, concord and rhythm.

The lawsuit mentioned Sheeran has carried out the 2 songs reside as a medley and transitioned “seamlessly” between them.

Sheeran has argued that any similarities between the songs contain primary musical “constructing blocks” which are ineligible for copyright safety.

If the jury finds Sheeran is accountable for copyright infringement, the Manhattan court docket will maintain one other trial to find out how a lot he and his labels ought to pay. The primary trial is anticipated to final a few week.

The heirs mentioned in a court docket submitting that they obtained 22% of the author’s share of Gaye’s tune from Townsend. Sheeran is going through two associated lawsuits from funding banker and “Bowie Bonds” creator David Pullman’s Structured Asset Gross sales LLC, which owns a 3rd of Townsend’s rights within the tune.

Sheeran received a trial in London final yr in a separate copyright case over his hit “Form of You.” Gaye’s heirs received a landmark verdict in 2015 over claims that the Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams tune “Blurred Traces” copied Gaye’s “Acquired to Give It Up.”

(Reporting by Blake Brittain in Washington; Enhancing by Aurora Ellis)