Ed Sheeran cleared of Marvin Gaye plagiarism accusations in landmark case

Written by on May 5, 2023

Music star Ed Sheeran cleared of Marvin Gaye plagiarism accusations in landmark case

Ed Sheeran, the British pop icon

Ed Sheeran

Ed Sheeran, the British pop icon, has been found not guilty of plagiarizing Marvin Gaye’s classic 1973 hit “Let’s Get It On”. After a long-drawn legal battle, the Manhattan district court acquitted Sheeran of any wrongdoing.

In the suit brought against him by the Marvin Gaye estate, Ed Sheeran faced allegations of plagiarism for his 2014 international hit “Thinking Out Loud”. The estate claimed that Sheeran had copied the “melody, harmony, and rhythmic components” of “Let’s Get It On”. The song in question was co-written by Gaye and Ed Townsend.


In May 2023, a U.S. District Judge ruled that a jury should decide if the Grammy award winner was liable to the Marvin Gaye estate and heirs of Ed Townsend. At the time, Sheeran declared his innocence and even threatened to quit music if the jury found him guilty.

The verdict was finally delivered on May 4, 2023. The jury found Sheeran not guilty of plagiarizing the Marvin Gaye record. The “Shape of You” singer was not present in court during the verdict reading.


Sheeran was not the only defendant in the case. Sony/ATV Music Publishing and Atlantic Records, through whom the music was released, were also named in the lawsuit.

In 2015, Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams were ordered by a US court to pay $5 million to the Marvin Gaye estate for plagiarizing the deceased in their chart-topping single “Blurred Lines”. But, with Sheeran being cleared of any wrongdoing, he can now escape the same fate suffered by Thicke and Williams.

After the verdict, Ed Sheeran fans expressed their relief that the British superstar would not be quitting music anytime soon.


The court case had been closely watched by music fans and industry insiders alike, with many wondering if the judgment would set a precedent for future cases of alleged music plagiarism.

The lawsuit had claimed that Ed Sheeran’s hit song “Thinking Out Loud” copied key elements of Marvin Gaye’s classic track “Let’s Get It On”, including its melody, harmony, and rhythm.


Ed Sheeran vehemently denied the allegations and even told the court that he had never heard “Let’s Get It On” before writing “Thinking Out Loud”.

Despite this, the case still went to trial, and a jury was asked to determine whether there was enough similarity between the two songs to constitute copyright infringement.


After just a few hours of deliberation, the jury returned a verdict in favor of Ed Sheeran, finding that he had not copied “Let’s Get It On” in his hit song.

The verdict was greeted with cheers from Ed Sheeran’s fans, who had been closely following the case.


Many in the music industry also breathed a sigh of relief, with some experts predicting that the verdict would make it more difficult for future plaintiffs to bring successful cases of alleged music plagiarism.

For Ed Sheeran, the verdict was a major vindication, not just of his songwriting abilities, but also of his reputation as one of the most successful and popular musicians of his generation.


Following the verdict, he took to social media to express his gratitude to his fans and supporters, writing that he was “thrilled” with the outcome of the trial and that he was looking forward to continuing to make music.

Despite the victory, however, the case is unlikely to be the last of its kind, with many in the industry predicting that allegations of music plagiarism will continue to be a major source of controversy and litigation in the years to come.

See also:


[VIDEO] Ed Sheeran Finally Wins Trial Over Plagiarism Claim By Sami Switch For Shape Of You

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