After winning a U.K. copyright battle over his 2017 song “Shape of You,” Grammy Award-winning songwriter Ed Sheeran must face a jury trial over his song “Thinking Out Loud.”
The “Shivers” singer was first accused of stealing key elements from Marvin Gaye’s iconic song “Let’s Get It On,” to use in his popular single in 2016.
Six years ago, the estate of Ed Townsend, Gaye’s co-writer on the popular 1973 song, hit Sheeran with a copy infringement lawsuit for the songs sounding similar.
Sheeran’s legal team fought back against the lawsuit and asked the federal judge to dismiss the case, arguing that the similar parts of the song were “commonplace.”
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Judge Louis Stanton denied Sheeran’s motion to dismiss the case and ordered that the matter progress toward trial, Thursday.
“There is no bright-line rule that the combination of two unprotectable elements is insufficiently numerous to constitute an original work,” Judge Stanton said, according to Billboard.
“A work may be copyrightable even though it is entirely a compilation of unprotectable elements,” Stanton added.
Stanton noted that both sides had presented “dueling experts to support those arguments, and that only a jury could sort out which was right.”
Structured Asset Sales owns a one-third stake in Townsend’s copyrights and is seeking a hefty $100 million in damages for the alleged infringement of “Let’s Get It On,” according to NPR.
This past April, Sheeran won a U.K. copyright battle over his 2017 hit “Shape of You.” At the time, he slammed what he described as a “culture” of baseless lawsuits intended to squeeze money out of artists eager to avoid the expense of a trial.
“Whilst we’re obviously happy with the result, I feel like claims like this are way too common now and have become a culture where a claim is made with the idea that a settlement will be cheaper than taking it to court, even if there is no basis for the claim,” Sheeran said in a video posted on Twitter. “It’s really damaging to the songwriting industry.”
A date has not been set yet for the trial in Sheeran’s lawsuit, which is scheduled to take place in Manhattan federal district court.
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