Ed Sheeran Sued for Copying Marvin Gaye on ‘Thinking Out Loud’
Ed Sheeran is getting sued by the estate of Ed Townsend, who co-wrote the Marvin Gaye classic “Let’s Get It On”. The claim is that Sheeran has allegedly ripped off the track for his hit “Thinking Out Loud”.
The Townsends are stating that Sheeran’s track uses the harmonic progressions and melodic/rhythmic elements to “Let’s Get It On”.
Granted, this would probably have more merit if this weren’t yet another Marvin Gaye songwriting lawsuit in the past two years, as apparently a lot of popular music descends from Gaye. We had the Marvin Gaye estate successfully sue Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams for $7.4 million for copying “Got to Give It Up” for their hit song “Blurred Lines”, only for the estate to then claim that Pharrell’s Oscar-nominated “Happy” rips off the song “Ain’t That Peculiar”.
The Gaye estate isn’t involved with the Towensend lawsuit against Ed Sheeran, but their shadow looms large over the proceedings ever since the “Blurred Lines” lawsuit. It could lead to a precedent being set about the extent to which popular music is derivative. We’re hardly a year removed from Sam Smith admitting the similarities to Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down”, and giving the folk singer songwriting credit.
Perhaps Ed will settle out of court by giving credit to the Townsend estate? It’s hard to know right now, but while “Let’s Get It On” does share similarities with “Thinking Out Loud”, I feel like you could say this about a bunch of other songs. I feel like Ed is in the clear here. I mean, if the Townsend estate wins the suit, just about anyone who had a hit that sounds similar to a current hit would be able to successfully sue. While there might be valid occasions where such a suit makes sense, it feels like this could give birth to a more litigious music industry.
But what do you think of this lawsuit? Sound off in the comments!