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Ed Sheeran Found Not Liable In Copyright Infringement Case

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Ed Sheeran’s copyright infringement trial has come to a close, with the artist being found not liable in engaging in willful copyright infringement. In the case, Sheeran was accused of copying Marvin Gaye’s song “Let’s Get It On” in his hit “Thinking Out Loud.” The lawsuit was filed by the heirs of the former song’s co-writer and composer Ed Townsend, who claimed Sheeran unlawfully employed the “heart” of Gaye’s song — that is, “harmonic progressions” and “melodic and rhythmic elements.” Essentially, the plaintiffs were accusing Sheeran of copying the musical building blocks of Gaye’s song, not the lyrics or overall feel.

The defense argued that Sheeran and co-writer Amy Wadge “independently created” the song:” Their song was born from an emotional conversation,” Sheeran’s copyright attorney, Ilene Farkas, said. “It was their original creation.”

After a two-week trial, the jury reached a unanimous verdict, a requirement in the case, after just under three hours of deliberations. Jurors agreed that Sheeran independently created the song, trumping every other decision they must make in determining whether he made copyright violations.

However, copyright infringement lawsuits do not always end this way. In 2015, a jury determined that Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams’s song “Blurred Lines” infringed on the copyright of Gaye’s “Got to Give It Up” and awarded more than $5 million in damages to Gaye’s family.

It should be noted that Sheeran was never accused of a crime, as this case of copyright infringement was a civil lawsuit.

Copyright and trademark infringements can be complex legal matters; therefore you should always consult an experienced copyright infringement attorney or knowledgeable trademark infringement lawyer should you find yourself in the middle of this type of legal situation.

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