Singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran was cleared of allegations of copyright infringement on Thursday, May 4th in Manhattan federal court. The lawsuit was launched by Structured Asset Sales, who purchased a third of the shares of the song from the family of Ed Townsend, who co-wrote “Let’s Get It On” with Marvin Gaye, in 2018. They alleged that Sheeran’s 2014 hit “Thinking Out Loud” took elements directly from the song.
The trial, which lasted just under two weeks, culminated in the verdict that cleared Sheeran of any wrongdoing. The decision came after just a few hours of deliberation. Sheeran expressed his frustrations with the case, stating, “If that happens, I’m done, I’m stopping. I find it to be really insulting,” he added. “I work really hard to be where I’m at.”
Upon hearing the verdict, he had been forced to miss his grandmother’s funeral due to the proceedings. Sheeran told reporters, “I will never get that time back.” The funeral, which took place in Ireland, was Wednesday.
He went on to say, “I am just a guy with a guitar who loves writing music for people to enjoy… I am not and will never allow myself to be a piggy bank for anyone to shake.”
In a statement given to reporters outside the courtroom, Sheeran made it clear how frustrated he felt at being accused of plagiarism and having the case reach trial. “It looks like I’m not going to have to give up my day job after all,” Sheeran said, alluding to a statement he had made on the stand earlier in the week that he would feel compelled to quit music if the verdict went against him. “But at the same time, I am absolutely frustrated that baseless claims like this are allowed to go to court at all. If the jury had decided this matter the other way, we might as well say goodbye to the creative freedom of songwriters.”
In closing, Sheeran told the reporters, “We need songwriters and the writing community to come together to bring back common sense. These claims must be stopped so the creative process can carry on and we can all get back to making music. And at the same time, we absolutely need trusted individuals, real experts, to help support the process and protect copyright.”