Jury selection to begin in copyright infringement lawsuit over Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud”

Music sensation Ed Sheeran faces a copyright infringement trial starting Monday in Manhattan. The lawsuit alleges that Sheeran’s hit song, “Thinking Out Loud,” bears striking similarities to the Marvin Gaye classic, “Let’s Get It On,” prompting a legal battle between Sheeran and the estate of Ed Townsend, who wrote the latter.

Kathryn Griffin-Townsend, Ed Townsend’s daughter, stated that “this must stop,” referring to the theft of intellectual property from Black artists that has been happening for decades in the music industry. Civil rights attorney Ben Crump, representing the Townsend family, believes that Sheeran’s alleged infringement of Black artists’ work is just another example of exploitation in the music industry.

This is not the first time the British pop star has faced this kind of legal challenge. In March 2022, he won a copyright lawsuit over his song “Shape of You.” Sheeran has defended himself against the accusations, citing the likelihood of coincidences with only 12 notes available and 60,000 songs released daily on Spotify.

The plaintiffs, in this case, claim that emails sent within Sheeran’s team acknowledged the similarities between the two songs. As a result, they are seeking compensation based on the percentage of the song that was copied, regardless of whether the chord progression was taken coincidentally. If the jury finds Sheeran liable for copyright infringement, the court will hold another trial to determine the amount he and his labels should pay. The trial is expected to last up to a week.