Ed Sheeran wins copyright infringement lawsuit involving 'Thinking Out Loud' – ABC News

The case involved "Thinking Out Loud" and Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On."
Ed Sheeran has defeated a copyright infringement lawsuit involving his Grammy-winning song "Thinking Out Loud" and the Marvin Gaye classic "Let's Get It On."
A Manhattan jury has found the musician did not engage in willful copyright infringement following a trial that saw Sheeran playing guitar and singing in court.
The jury reached its decision after roughly three hours of deliberations.
Sheeran, seated at the defense table in a suit and tie between his lawyers, hugged his attorneys when the verdict was read.
"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," Sheeran told reporters outside the courthouse. "But at the same time, I'm unbelievably frustrated that baseless claims like this are allowed to go to court at all."
The plaintiffs declined to make a statement outside the courthouse following the verdict.
Sheeran had been accused of copying the sheet music for "Let's Get It On" by the family of the song's late co-writer, Ed Townsend.
During opening arguments in Manhattan federal court, renowned civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who is representing the plaintiffs, said the case is about "giving credit where credit is due."
The lawsuit claims that Sheeran took the rhythm, chord progression and other elements for his 2014 song "Thinking Out Loud" without permission from the 1973 soul classic "Let's Get It On," which Crump said has become a "cornerstone" in the American experience.
Crump said Sheeran "recognized the magic of 'Let's Get It On'" and infringed on its copyright for the tune that won him his first Grammy.
The defense, meanwhile, said Sheeran and co-writer Amy Wadge "independently created" the song "Thinking Out Loud."
"Their song was born from an emotional conversation," Sheeran's attorney, Ilene Farkas, said. "It was their original creation."
Sheeran took the stand throughout the trial, at times singing and playing guitar during his testimony.
At one point, the musician performed a mash-up on guitar of his songs and Marvin Gaye's as he tried to demonstrate how common the four-chord progression was for his hit "Thinking Out Loud."
Sheeran also performed some of "Thinking Out Loud" when he discussed its creation process with Wadge.
He testified his producers came to refer to "Thinking Out Loud" as Sheeran's Van Morrison tune because of the similarities and influence Sheeran said the Northern Irish singer provided.
During her closing argument, Farkas said the case never should have been brought and that Sheeran was "unjustly accused" of copying from "Let's Get It On."
"We all benefit from artists being free to create and to build on what came before them," Farkas said, warning the jury that a verdict against Sheeran would mean "creativity will be stifled for fear of being sued."
Crump told jurors that a videotape of Sheeran in concert merging "Thinking Out Loud" with "Let's Get It On" is their "smoking gun" and demonstrates the infringing similarities. The plaintiffs showed a video of Sheeran playing a mashup of the two songs during a concert.
When taking the stand following the viewing, Sheeran told the court, "If I had done what you're accusing me of doing I'd be quite an idiot to stand on stage in front of 25,000 people."
Talking to reporters outside the courthouse Thursday, juror Sophia Neis said the jury "thought long and hard" about the questions they were given.
"We ultimately came to what we thought was the right interpretation of the law that we were given," Neis said.
Townsend's heirs sued Sheeran, Warner Music Group and Sony Music Publishing in 2017.
This isn't the first time either man's music has been the center of a copyright trial. Sheeran won a copyright infringement case last year involving "Shape of You," while Gaye's heirs, who are not involved in this current lawsuit, won a case in 2015 against Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams involving "Got to Give it Up."
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