Lawyer claims 'smoking gun proof' Ed Sheeran copied song

Streaming HUBApril 25, 2023

NEW YORK (AP) – An attorney for the heirs of the co-writer of Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On” told jurors at the start of a civil trial Tuesday that he has “smoking gun” evidence that Ed Sheeran’s Thinking Out “Loud” infringes upon the copyright of a soul classic.

In his opening statement, attorney Ben Crump, representing Ed Townsend’s heirs, said the English pop star mixed two songs in concert and jurors will get to see that.

He added that merging the songs was akin to “a confession”.

“We have the smoking gun,” he said of concert footage showing Sheeran swinging between two songs.

Crump said the case was about “giving credit where credit is due”.

Sheeran, 32, watched as his lawyer, Ilene Farkas, insisted that Sheeran and a co-worker, Amy Wadge, wrote their song independently and did not steal from Townsend and Gaye.

She said that they “made this heartfelt song” without copying “Let’s Get It On”.

Chord progressions and basic musical building blocks are frequently used in Sheeran’s songs, and had not previously appeared in “Let’s Get It On”, his lawyer said.

“Let’s Get It On” has been heard in countless films and commercials, and has garnered millions of streams, spins and radio plays since its release in 1973. “Thinking Out Loud” won a Grammy for Song of the Year in 2016.

The suit was filed in 2017. The trial is expected to last for two weeks.

Townsend, who also wrote the 1958 R&B doo-wop hit “For Your Love,” was a singer, songwriter, and lawyer. He died in 2003. Katherine Townsend Griffin, his daughter, is the plaintiff leading the lawsuit.

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