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Ed Sheeran sued over alleged Marvin Gaye rip off, again 

By | Published on Friday 29 June 2018

Ed Sheeran

Ed Sheeran is being sued over allegations his track ‘Thinking Out Loud’ rips off Marvin Gaye’s ‘Let’s Get It On’.

And if that allegation sounds familiar, well, you’re probably thinking about that time Ed Sheeran was sued over allegations his track ‘Thinking Out Loud’ rips off Marvin Gaye’s ‘Let’s Get It On’. But please note, the news today is that Ed Sheeran is being sued over allegations his track ‘Thinking Out Loud’ rips off Marvin Gaye’s ‘Let’s Get It On’. Yeah, think about that out loud. And then let’s get it on, I guess.

So yes, back in 2016, when accusing Ed Sheeran of song-theft was an almost new fad among music lawyers, the heirs of ‘Let’s Get It On’ co-writer Ed Townsend went legal. They alleged that Sheeran had borrowed – without permission – the “melody, harmony and rhythm compositions” of ‘Let’s Get It On’ for ‘Thinking Out Loud’.

Cue two years of musicologists musing on just how similar the two tracks are – or not – possibly depending on who’s paying their bills. And, of course, lots of legal wiffle waffle about what can and can’t be protected by copyright, generally along the lines of: “it’s a vibe man, that’s just a common chord progression, these are just standard features of pop music for pity’s sake, fuck off all of you and pay me my share of the dosh”. You know, standard legal arguments presented by pretty standard legal types.

Oh, and then there’s an entire side squabble over whether or not one of Townsend’s heirs can be involved in this case at all, because she was adopted at birth and there’s a dispute over whether or not that means she can or can’t inherit her father’s share of the song. Or something like that. To be honest, I tuned out of all this squabbling long ago.

But hey, what about this new lawsuit? Well, copyrights are often co-owned, right? And the really fun sounding music rights firm Structured Asset Sales says that it has a stake in ‘Let’s Get It On’, so it too has been ripped off by that song-thieving scamp Master Sheeran esq.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, SAS tried to get itself added as a plaintiff on the original lawsuit filed against Sheeran, but was knocked back by the judge. It’s actually appealing that decision, but yesterday filed its own standalone lawsuit in the meantime.

Assuming it gets to proceed, presumably the outcome of this new case will very much depend on the outcome of the original one. Indeed, so similar are the two actions, if Townsend’s heirs lose their litigation against Sheeran, perhaps they could have a go at suing SAS for ripping off their lawsuit.



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