Mike Bedigan, PA Los Angeles Correspondent
Fri, 30 September 2022 at 6:13 pm
Ed Sheeran’s motion to dismiss a copyright lawsuit that alleges he stole parts of Marvin Gaye’s famous song Let’s Get It On for his track Thinking Out Loud, has been denied by a US judge.
The British musician faces accusations that key parts of his track, including chord progressions, were taken from the 1973 hit.
The case is being brought by investment banker David Pullman and Structured Asset Sales (SAS), which acquired a portion of the estate of Let’s Get It On co-writer Ed Townsend.
Sheeran’s lawyers have denied the allegations, saying that the combination of elements Sheeran allegedly took was not unique enough to be covered by copyright law.
But a ruling from judge Louis Stanton on Thursday said there was “no bright-line rule” for their arguments and denied their motion to strike the case.
A date for the jury trial in New York is yet to be set.
In legal documents obtained by the PA news agency, Judge Stanton wrote: “There is no bright-line rule that the combination of two unprotectable elements is insufficiently numerous to constitute an original work.
“A work may be copyrightable even though it is entirely a compilation of unprotectable elements.”
He concluded: “Sheeran’s motion for summary judgment dismissing SAS’s claim for infringement is denied.”
It comes just six months after the music megastar won a similar copyright suit in the UK, which claimed he stole his hit song Shape Of You.
At a trial in March, Sheeran and co-writers Snow Patrol’s John McDaid and producer Steven McCutcheon faced accusations that their track ripped off a 2015 song by Sami Chokri and Ross O’Donoghue.
However, Mr Justice Zacaroli concluded Sheeran “neither deliberately nor subconsciously” copied a phrase in the song.
Sheeran and his co-songwriters have been awarded over £900,000 in legal costs following the win.
In a video message after the ruling in April, Sheeran said copyright claims were “way too common now” and “not a pleasant experience”.
The singer added that he hoped that with the ruling in his favour that “baseless claims” could be avoided in the future.”