It is not the first time Ed Sheeran has been faced with legal action over alleged similarities to other songs, but this time, he might be obliged to pay an incredible amount of money (officially $100m) for his November 2014 No.1 hit “Thinking Out Loud“.
The accusation comes from a company called Structured Asset Sales (SAS), that owns part of the copyright of Marvin Gaye’s song “Let’s Get It On“. This single was released back in June 1973, written by Marvin Gaye himself with producer Ed Townsend, and is a romantic sensual ballad.
Gaye was an talented, promising American songwriter-producer and singer, who died the day before his 45th birthday in 1984, shot at home by his father. “Let’s Get It On” co-writer Townsend passed away in 2003 and after that SAS bought one-third of the copyright.
The SAS company was founded by the investment banker David Pullman, who invited musicians to sell off their future income in exchange for money upfront, and this happened with part of the music legacy of Gaye. His estate is currently managed by Geffen Management Group and his legacy protected through Creative Rights Group.
According to official documents from New York, the British star’s hit references “melody, rhythms, harmonies, drums, bassline, backing chorus, tempo, syncopation and looping” of Gaye’s song.
Actually, even Ed noticed that there were similarities between the two songs, although same tempo and different melodies, but he has always denied the allegations. If the case does go to trial, the Court would have to decide if Ed Sheeran’s melody is unique enough.
This is not the first episode for Sheeran, after what happened this year with the single “The Rest Of Our Lives“, written for Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, accused of copying the melody of Jasmin Rae‘s hit “When I Found You“.
On the other hand, we can say the same for Gaye’s legacy: his family in March 2005 were awarded $7.4 million in damages, winning the trial against Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams‘ “Blurred Lines“, that sounded very similar to the original “Got To Give It Up“.
We will see if Ed will have to pay or if it is just a case of innocent similarity, and not a lack of inspiration.