The estate of Ed Townsend, co-writer of Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On,” has officially ended their legal battle with Ed Sheeran over their claims that Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud” copied the iconic 1970s R&B song. In May, a jury ruled in favor of Sheeran, rejecting the Townsend estate’s assertion that Sheeran’s hit song copied the heart of Gaye’s song. The family had filed an appeal, but they recently withdrew the motion, effectively ending the case. Sheeran’s lawyer speculated that the appeal was dropped because the plaintiffs recognized the verdict would be affirmed and they would be exposed to legal fees and costs.
During the trial, lawyers for the Townsend family presented a video clip of Sheeran performing “Thinking Out Loud” in concert, where he segued into lyrics from “Let’s Get It On.” However, Sheeran denied any wrongdoing and argued that the chord progression in both songs is a common element in pop music. Sheeran and his lawyers maintained that the similarities were based on typical building blocks of music rather than intentional plagiarism. The judge in the case also dismissed another lawsuit involving “Thinking Out Loud” and “Let’s Get It On” brought by Structured Asset Sales (SAS), which claims partial ownership of the royalties from Gaye’s song.
In summary, the estate of Ed Townsend has decided to end their legal battle with Ed Sheeran over allegations that his song “Thinking Out Loud” copied Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On.” Despite initially filing an appeal, the Townsend family withdrew the motion, indicating the case cannot be refiled. Sheeran’s lawyer suggested that the appeal was dropped to avoid additional legal fees and costs. Throughout the trial, Sheeran maintained his innocence, asserting that the similarities between the songs were based on common musical elements found in pop music. Another lawsuit involving the same songs was also dismissed by the judge, further strengthening Sheeran’s case.