Score another one for Ed Sheeran. Less than two weeks after a jury found the singer innocent of plagiarism involving “Thinking Out Loud” and Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On,” he’s beaten a second lawsuit involving the same songs.
Where the previous suit accused Sheeran of stealing the “heart” of the song, this one accused Sheeran of outright stealing the copyright of the sheet music. The lawsuit, filed in 2018 by Structured Asset Sales, LLC (SAS), whose CEO, David Pullman, owns one-third of the copyright to Ed Townsend’s catalog, alleged multiple accounts of plagiarism including comparisons of the bass line, songs’ chord progressions and time signatures, just to name a few.
However, Judge Louis L. Stanton reached a similar conclusion to the other trial, writing in the filing, “It is an unassailable reality that the chord progression and harmonic rhythm in ‘Let’s Get It On’ are so commonplace, in isolation and in combination, that to protect their combination would give ‘Let’s Get It On’ an impermissible monopoly over a basic musical building block.” Stanton added that the chord progression for “Let’s Get It On” had been used “at least twenty-nine times” before Gaye and Townsend wrote their song and appeared in “another twenty-three songs” before “Thinking Out Loud” ever made its way onto the radio.
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