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Ed Sheeran Copyright Trial Update

Photo courtesy of Harald Krichel / Wikimedia Commons

Jury selection began yesterday in a copyright trial to decide whether British singer Ed Sheeran lifted elements of the classic soul song "Let's Get It On" for the basis of his hit "Thinking Out Loud." Sheeran is expected to testify during the two-week case, which experts believe will have broad ramifications for the music industry.

Heirs to the estate of Ed Townsend, who co-wrote the legendary hit with Marvin Gaye, claim Sheeran's use of a common chord progression is arranged similarly enough to Townsend and Gaye's that it infringes on copyright. Fans have noted close similarity between the two songs (watch breakdown) since Sheeran's hit debuted; conversely, musical experts have noted the progression forms the basis for countless songs in the pop canon.

Sheeran has faced similar lawsuits before, including copyright complaints over hits "Shape of You" and "Photograph," settling the latter for $5M in 2017. The cases come amid an increase in musical copyright lawsuits in recent years; read an overview here.

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