Ed Sheeran accused of ripping off Marvin Gaye's hit

Family of late composer of Marvin Gaye's Let's Get It On sue Ed Sheeran over similar musical elements in his hit Thinking Out Loud.
Grammy-winner Ed Sheeran is one of Britain's top-selling artists.
Grammy-winner Ed Sheeran is one of Britain's top-selling artists. PHOTO: REUTERS

SEATTLE • Heirs of the composer for Marvin Gaye's Let's Get It On sued Ed Sheeran on Tuesday, claiming the British musician's hit song Thinking Out Loud copies core elements of the late soul singer's 1973 track.

The copyright infringement lawsuit was filed by the heirs of Ed Townsend, who composed Let's Get It On and co-wrote the lyrics, according to the complaint filed in federal court in the Southern District of New York.

Representatives for defendants Sheeran, Sony/ATV Music Publishing and Atlantic Records did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The lawsuit, which asks for damages to be assessed at a jury trial, argues that the harmonic progressions, melodic and rhythmic elements central to Let's Get It On formed the structure of Sheeran's Thinking Out Loud.

Grammy-winner Sheeran has become one of Britain's top-selling artists in the past two years and has written and co-written tracks for artists such as One Direction, Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber.

The lawsuit came two months after California-based musicians sued Sheeran for US$20 million (S$26.8 million) over his hit song Photograph in an unrelated case.

Gaye's family last year successfully sued R&B recording artists Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams for copyright infringement in another unrelated case over their hit single Blurred Lines, winning a US$7.4 million judgment.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 11, 2016, with the headline 'Ed Sheeran accused of ripping off Marvin Gaye's hit'. Print Edition | Subscribe