HomeBusinessEd Sheeran's 'Thinking Out Loud' copyright appeal abandoned in brief legal bout

Ed Sheeran’s ‘Thinking Out Loud’ copyright appeal abandoned in brief legal bout

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The legal battle between the estate of Ed Townsend and Ed Sheeran over alleged copyright infringement has come to an end. The Townsend estate had accused Sheeran’s hit song “Thinking Out Loud” of copying the iconic 1970s R&B song “Let’s Get It On,” which Townsend co-wrote with Marvin Gaye. However, a federal court in Manhattan ruled in favor of Sheeran in May, leading the Townsend family to file an appeal. In a surprising turn of events, the family has now withdrawn their motion for appeal, effectively ending the case.

Sheeran’s lawyer, Ilene Farkas, suggested that the Townsend family dropped the appeal to avoid incurring further legal fees and costs. Farkas stated that the claim against Sheeran’s hit song was always viewed as baseless and that the jury verdict had already found that Sheeran and co-writer Amy Wadge independently created “Thinking Out Loud.” Furthermore, Sheeran’s defense argued that the chord progression in both songs was a common element in pop music. Despite Sheeran’s victory, another case involving the same songs was filed by Structured Asset Sales (SAS), claiming partial ownership of royalties from “Let’s Get It On.” However, Judge Louis Stanton ruled in favor of Sheeran in this case as well.

While the withdrawal of the appeal by the Townsend family may mark the end of their legal battle, SAS’s cases against Sheeran’s song are still pending. The ruling in Sheeran’s favor emphasized that the chord progression and harmonic rhythm in “Let’s Get It On” were so common that granting protection to their combination would give the original song an impermissible monopoly over a basic musical element. Despite these legal victories, Sheeran may still face ongoing challenges from other parties regarding his hit song “Thinking Out Loud.”

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