Ed Sheeran has won his court case!
A US Federal Court jury has found his 2014 hit “Thinking Out Loud” did not unlawfully copy Marvin Gaye’s 1973 song “Let’s Get It On” in melody, harmony or rhythm, as the heirs of songwriter Ed Townsend who was behind Gaye’s track, had claimed.
Hugging his attorneys after his win, Sheeran appeared outside court to share a statement with media about the urgent need to ensure frivolous copyright claims do not make it to court in the first place as well as the toll the entire process has taken on him and his his co-writer Amy Wadge:
“I’m obviously very happy with the outcome of the case and it looks like I’m not having to retire from my day job after all. But at the same time I’m unbelievably frustrated that baseless claims like this are allowed to go to court at all,” he begins.
“We’ve spent the last eight years talking about two songs with dramatically different lyrics, melodies and four chords which are also different and used by songwriters every day all over the world. These chords are common building blocks which we used to create music long before Let’s Get It On was written and will be used to make music long after we are all gone. They are in a songwriter’s alphabet, our toolkit and should be there for all of us to use. No one owns them or the way they are played in the same way no one owns the colour blue.”
“Unfortunately, unfounded claims like this are being fuelled by individuals who are being offered as music experts in musical analysis. In this instance, the other side’s musicologist left out words and notes, presented simple and different pitches as melody and by doing so created what we proved for all to see were misleading comparisons and disinformation to find supposed similarities where none exist. And I think we proved for all to see they tried to manipulate my and Amy’s song to try and convince the jury they had a genuine claim. I’m very grateful the jury saw through these attempts. This seems so dangerous to me, both potential claimants who may be convinced to bring a bogus claim as well as those songwriters facing them. It’s simply wrong, by stopping this practice, we can also properly support genuine music copyright claims so legitimate copyright claims are rightly heard and resolved,” Sheeran continues.
“If the jury had decided this matter the other way, we might as well say goodbye to the creative freedom of songwriters. We need to be able to write our original music and engage in independent creation without worrying every step of the way that such creativity will be wrongly called into question. Like artists everywhere, Amy and I work hard to independently create songs which are often based around real-life, personal experiences. It’s devastating to be accused of stealing someone else’s song when we put so much work into our livelihoods. I’m just a guy with a guitar who loves writing music for people to enjoy. I am not and will never allow myself to be a piggy bank for anyone to shake.”
Sheeran goes on to explain how the court case has impacted his life: “Having to be in New York for this trial has meant that I’ve missed being with my family at my grandmother’s funeral in Ireland and I will never get that time back. These trials take a significant toll on everyone involved, including Kathryn (Townsend Griffin).”
He ends his statement, “I want to thank the jury for making the decision that will help protect the creative process of songwriters here in the United States and all around the world. I also want to thank my team, these guys, who’ve supported me throughout this difficult process and to all the songwriters musicians and fans who’ve reached out with messages of support over the last few weeks. And finally, I would like to thank Amy. Neither of us ever expected that nine years ago, from our wonderful writing session, would be here having to defend our integrity. Amy, I feel so lucky to have you in my life. We need songwriters and the community to come together and bring back common sense. These claims need to be stopped so the creative process can carry on and we can all go back to making music. At the same time, we absolutely need trusted individuals, real experts who help support the process of protecting copyright. Thank you.”
(Feature Image Credit: Fred Duval/Shutterstock)