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Ed Sheeran ordered to stand trial in “Thinking Out Loud” copyright suit

Reading Festival 2022 Day 2
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Ed Sheeran‘s legal woes are far from over. Even though he emerged victorious in his “Shape of You” copyright suit, he is now going toe to toe over a Marvin Gaye hit.

Billboard reports a federal judge has ordered the Grammy winner to stand trial in the copyright lawsuit alleging he stole elements from Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On” to make his 2014 hit “Thinking Out Loud.” The lawsuit was brought on by Structured Asset Sales, who owns a third of Ed Townsend‘s copyrights.

Townsend co-wrote “Let’s Get It On” with Gaye; his heirs have filed a separate suit on the matter.

This case now heads to a jury trial, which Ed, who previously filed a request to dismiss the lawsuit, hoped to avoid. His team argued the elements he’s accused of stealing — a chord progression and harmonic rhythm from the 1973 song — were not unique enough to be protected under copyright. 

The British singer’s team noted the same elements were found in a song that predates “Let’s Get It On” — The Temptations‘ 1965 hit “Since I Lost My Baby.”

Judge Louis Stanton sided against Ed and ruled nothing would preclude the artist from relaying his arguments to a jury. “There is no bright-line rule that the combination of two unprotectable elements is insufficiently numerous to constitute an original work,” the judge wrote. “A work may be copyrightable even though it is entirely a compilation of unprotectable elements.”

Judge Stanton also ruled that should Ed be found guilty of copyright infringement, the profits he made from concerts when he performed “Thinking Out Loud” will be included in awarded damages. 

No date has been set for the upcoming case, but it is expected to take place in a Manhattan federal courthouse.

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