Let’s Get It On songwriter’s estate ends Ed Sheeran copyright fight

NEW YORK – The heirs of a musician who co-wrote Marvin Gaye’s Let’s Get It On have agreed to drop their appeal of a US jury verdict clearing British pop star Ed Sheeran of allegations his song Thinking Out Loud illegally copied Gaye’s classic.

A court filing on Wednesday said that songwriter Ed Townsend’s estate would withdraw the appeal with prejudice, which means it cannot be refiled.

Sheeran’s lawyer Ilene Farkas on Thursday said the estate “recognised that an appeal would end up with the verdict being affirmed but also with them being exposed to legal fees and costs, and wisely withdrew.”

Attorneys for Townsend’s estate did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday.

Townsend’s heirs sued Sheeran, Warner Music and Sony Music for copyright infringement in 2017, claiming Sheeran’s 2014 hit Thinking Out Loud copied the “heart” of Gaye’s 1973 classic including its melody, harmony and rhythm.

Sheeran’s attorneys countered in the closely watched case that any similarities between the songs involved basic musical “building blocks” that could not be copyrighted.

A jury determined after a six-day trial in May that Sheeran’s song did not infringe Townsend’s copyright in Let’s Get It On. Sheeran after the trial said the decision would “help protect the creative process for songwriters here in the United States and all around the world.”

Later that month, the judge who presided over the trial ruled that Sheeran also did not violate part of Townsend’s songwriting copyright owned by “Bowie Bonds” creator David Pullman’s Structured Asset Sales. Pullman’s company has a separate lawsuit pending against Sheeran based on its rights in the sound recording of Let’s Get It On.

Pullman on Thursday said the dismissal of the Townsend case will not affect either of Structured Asset Sales’ cases. REUTERS

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