Ed Sheeran may have to pay $100m, if found guilty of plagiarising a song

Pop star Ed Sheeran is to stand trial in the United States over claims he copied his hit song “Thinking Out Loud” from soul icon Marvin Gaye's “Let's Get It On”.

Ed Sheeran

Marvin Gaye, byname of Marvin Pentz Gay, Jr., was an American soul singer-songwriter-producer who, largely, ushered in the era of artist-controlled popular music of the 1970s. He was fatally shot by his father on April 1, 1984.

A US judge denied Sheeran's appeal to dismiss the case, saying a jury should decide on the similarities between the songs.

This is not the first time Sheeran has been in the dock for copyright infringement, six months ago he was cleared of allegedly copying his hugely successful song “Shape Of You” at a trial in London, England.

After that ruling, Sheeran complained loudly about "baseless" copyright claims, which he said were "way too common".

Now another was one has come and it was originally lodged in 2018.

This suit was intriguingly not lodged by Gaye's family, but by investment banker David Pullman and a company called Structured Asset Sales, which has acquired a portion of the estate of “Let's Get It On” from the song’s co-writer Ed Townsend.

Seeking $100m (£90m) in damages, the Pullman and the company alleges that Sheeran and his co-writer Amy Wadge "copied and exploited, without authorisation or credit" the Gaye song, "including but not limited to the melody, rhythms, harmonies, drums, bass line, backing chorus, tempo, syncopation and looping".

On Thursday, US District Judge Louis Stanton noted a disjunction between musical experts on both sides of the lawsuit and so he ordered for the civil trial.

In his order, Judge Stanton also ruled that jurors must decide whether Pullman and the company Structured Asset Sales can include concert revenue in damage. This contradicted Sheeran’s prior argument that ticket sales were not tied to the alleged infringement.

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