Lawsuits in the music industry happen more than you may think, especially over current artists of today and past artists’ works. These cases are processed cases under the United States’ court system. Moreover, it is hard to tell what is considered to be copyright or not. Recently, Ed Sheeran was faced with a lawsuit against Marvin Gaye’s 1973 hit “Let’s Get It On” and his 2014 hit “Thinking Out Loud” against the family of the co-writer to “Let’s Get it On” Ed Townsend.
This lawsuit shakes up the music world a bit especially in that Ed Sheeran could’ve been easily inspired over the song or could’ve just as easily stolen the music of the late Marvin Gaye because both songs share a variety of musical elements such as tempo, chord progressions and even that of drum patterns. Besides words that separate the two songs, the key of both songs are different and are not the same. In the writing of this article, this lawsuit has not reach a conclusion. Both songs were extremely popular; “Thinking Out Loud” achieved a Diamond rank record and “Let’s Get It On” reached Platinum and are both still played today.
This als isn’t the first lawsuit made against an artist for copyright of a Marvin Gaye song. In 2014, the song “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke, T.I. and Pharrell Williams faced a lawsuit against Gaye’s “Got to Give it Up.” The Gaye family won the case and got themselves $7.5 million in doing so. The fact is that the Gaye family has done something no one has done before, which is copyrighting a music style, despite the songs not even being remotely the same in any musical elements. This came as a shock to the music community.
But the Sheeran case is different and difficult. Though both “Thinking Out Loud” and “Let’s Get It On” share musical elements, they do have some differences. Many music people are asking, “Should this lawsuit press on and have Ed Sheeran pay for copyrighting Marvin Gaye’s and Ed Townsend’s “Let’s Get it on” or should this be dropped?” This lawsuit may shape how future musicians and songwriters alike.