Musician Ed Sheeran exits federal courthouse in New York, United States, on Wednesday May 3, 2023.
Stephanie Keith | Bloomberg | Getty Images
A federal jury in Manhattan ruled Thursday that pop star Ed Sheeran did not infringe the copyright of Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On.”
It was questionable whether Sheeran’s 2014 hit “Thinking Out Loud” was a copy of the 1973 classic. The jury ruled that 32-year-old Sheeran created his song independently and is not liable for any copyright infringement.
After a two-week trial, the jury reached a unanimous verdict after deliberating for three hours.
Upon hearing the verdict, Sheeran stood up and hugged his attorneys, according to NBC News. His wife and Thinking Out Loud co-writer Amy Wadge was in tears.
The lawsuit was filed by the heirs of Ed Townsend, who co-wrote Let’s Get It On with Gaye. Plaintiffs first filed the civil suit in 2017, alleging that Sheeran, Warner Music Group and Sony Music Publishing stole the soul classic in violation of federal copyright law.
During the trial, Sheeran defended his Grammy-winning song. Sheeran told jurors that he composed “Thinking Out Loud” independently with British songwriter Wadge, who was not named in the lawsuit.
When asked about the amount of the case earlier this week, Sheeran threatened to quit the music if he was found guilty. “When that happens, I’m done, I’m quitting,” Sheeran said in court Monday.
Last April, Sheeran took a stand with another of his hits, 2017’s “Shape of You.” A London judge ruled in Sheeran’s favor in the case, awarding him more than $1.1 million in legal fees.
Gaye died in 1984 while Townsend died in 2003.