Popular singer Ed Sheeran is currently making headlines after allegations surfaced that his hit song “Thinking Out Loud” was copied from Marvin Gaye’s soul classic “Let’s Get It On.” On Tuesday, the singer went to court in New York to deny the allegations, where he was called by the heirs of Ed Townsend, Gaye’s co-writer of the 1973 song. For the inexperienced, the family has accused Sheeran of violating their copyright. claiming that his 2014 hit had “striking similarities” and “overt shared elements” with Gaye’s popular song.
What did Ed Sheeran say in court?
Reportedly, Sheeran was adamant that he came up with the idea for his song himself. Commenting on the video footage played in the courtroom, the singer said it was “pretty easy to weave in and out songs” that are in the same key. Speaking about the song’s allegations, he said, “I’d be an idiot to get on a stage in front of 20,000 people and do that.” He further countered that: “Most pop songs fit over most pop songs … You could go from Let it Be to No Woman, No Cry and switch back again”, referring to songs by the Beatles and Bob Marley. When attorney Keisha Rice interrupted, he said, “I have a feeling you don’t want me to answer because you know what I’m about to say will actually make a lot of sense.”
What part of the music is claimed as copyright?
The melodies, chord structures and lyrics of the two songs are all that are at issue in the complaint against Sheeran, not the exact recordings. In the case of “Let’s Get It On”, the only elements of the notation were chords, words, and a vocal melody. The song’s bassline and signature opening guitar riff were also missing, along with other key elements. As a result, the case usually revolves around the nearly identical (but not quite identical) chord progressions of the two songs.
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