Updated: Jun 11
Ed Sheeran, currently one of the biggest pop stars in the world, is on trial for lifting his Grammy Award winning song, “Thinking Out Loud” from another famous tune, “Let’s Get It On”, recorded and sung by Marvin Gaye in 1974.
The family of one of the songwriters, the late Ed Townsend, is suing Sheeran for copyright infringement while seeking millions of dollars in damages.
It’s a tough call. While I absolutely believe no one has the right to make money off another artist’s work, the fact remains that virtually every song in recorded history involves the use of the same limited number of chords and progressions. As a songwriter myself, I certainly understand the challenge of coming up with something new.
Juries have gone both ways. The most famous lawsuit in this area was that of the music publisher of the Chiffon’s, “He’s So Fine” against George Harrison for similarities in his epic song, “My Sweet Lord”. Harrison lost the case.
Here’s what Mr. Sheeran wrote on his Instagram page: “There’s only so many notes and very few chords used in pop music. Coincidence is bound to happen if 60,000 are being released every day on Spotify.”