Jury Rules In Ed Sheeran's Favour In Plagiarism Trial

5 May 2023 | 8:10 am | Mary Varvaris

"I am absolutely frustrated that baseless claims like this are allowed to go to court at all."

(Pic by Annie Leibovitz)

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The jury in a New York court ruled in Ed Sheeran’s favour in a copyright trial that alleged the Shape Of You singer plagiarised the Marvin Gaye classic, Let’s Get It On.

At the end of the trial, the jury concluded, “Sheeran proved he didn’t infringe upon the copyright,” and sided with Sheeran.

“I’m obviously very happy with the outcome of this case and it looks like I’m not going to have to retire from my day job after all,” Sheeran reportedly told the press outside the courthouse, per Evening Standard.

However, the singer’s feelings are mixed. He added, “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. We need to be able to write our original music and engage in independent creativity without worrying at every step of the way that said creativity will be wrongly called into question.”

According to the Associated Press, Sheeran also told reporters that he had missed his grandmother’s funeral in Ireland while on trial in New York and said he “won’t get that time back.”

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Earlier this week, Sheeran told the court that if he was to be found guilty of plagiarism, he would quit music. “If that happens, I’m done, I’m stopping," he said.

He added, “I find it really insulting to devote my whole life to being a performer and a songwriter and have someone diminish it.”

“Most pop songs can fit over most pop songs. I mash up songs at lots of gigs. Many songs have similar chords. You can go from Let It Be to No Woman No Cry and switch back,” Sheeran testified in a New York court last week.

He said that after Ed Townsend’s daughter, Kathryn Townsend Griffin’s lawyer, Ben Crump, claimed that Sheeran playing a medley of Thinking Out Loud and Let’s Get It On was a “confession” of guilt. Her father, Ed Townsend, co-wrote Let’s Get It On with Marvin Gaye.

Sheeran’s lawyer, Ilene S Farkas, argued that Townsend and Gaye couldn't own “these common musical elements … No one owns basic musical building blocks,” with Sheeran earlier telling the court, “Quite frankly, if I had done what you’re accusing me of doing, I’d be a quite an idiot to stand on a stage in front of 20,000 people and do that.”

At the end of the trial, Sheeran approached Kathryn Townsend Griffin and reportedly spoke to her for ten minutes. “It showed me who he was,” Griffin said to the press. She added, “I’m just glad it’s over,” and “We can be friends.”