The heirs of a musician who co-wrote Marvin Gaye’s ‘Let’s Get It On’ have agreed to withdraw their appeal against a US jury verdict that acquitted British pop star Ed Sheeran of charges that his song ‘Thinking Out Loud ‘ would have pirated Gaye’s classic.
A court filing on Wednesday, September 20, said the estate of songwriter Ed Townsend would withdraw the appeal with prejudice, meaning it cannot be refiled.
Sheeran’s attorney Ilene Farkas said Thursday that the estate “recognized that an appeal would result in an affirmation of the verdict, but also in exposure to legal fees and costs, and wisely withdrew.”
Attorneys for Townsend’s estate did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.
Townsend’s heirs sued Sheeran, Warner Music and Sony Music in 2017 for copyright infringement, claiming Sheeran’s 2014 hit “Thinking Out Loud” copied the “heart” of Gaye’s 1973 classic, including the melody, harmony and rhythm .
Sheeran’s lawyers countered in the closely watched case that any similarities between the songs had to do with fundamental musical “building blocks” that could not be copyrighted.
A jury ruled after a six-day trial in May that Sheeran’s song did not infringe on Townsend’s copyright on “Let’s Get It On.” Sheeran said after the trial that the decision would “help protect the creative process for songwriters here in the United States and around the world.”
Later that month, the judge presiding over the trial ruled that Sheeran had also not violated part of Townsend’s songwriting copyright, owned by Structured Asset Sales LLC of “Bowie Bonds” creator David Pullman. Pullman’s company has a separate lawsuit against Sheeran based on the rights to the sound recording of ‘Let’s Get It On’.
Pullman said Thursday that the dismissal of the Townsend case will not affect Structured Asset Sales’ business. AP/ra