Ed Sheeran told he must face trial over accusation his song Thinking Out Loud copied Marvin Gaye's Let's Get It On

Ed Sheeran
(Image credit: Jo Hale/Redferns)

Remember Ed Sheeran's legal woes with his song Thinking Out Loud being accused of infringing Marvin Gaye's Let's Get It On? Well it seems they're far from over. 

Sheeran is still relatively fresh from his victory with co-writers in April 2022 regarding a separate plagiarism case for his hit Shape Of You, but now a US federal judge has refused to toss the case out over the alleged infringement of the songwriter's 2014 song Thinking It Loud on the über romantic Marvin Gaye 1973 classic. 

This copyright case dates back to 2018 when legal action was brought against Sheeran, Sony/ATV Music Publishing and Atlantic Records by the estate and heirs of Let's Get It On's co-writer, the late producer Ed Townsend.

Sheeran’s lawyers have argued that the case was invalid because the combination of musical elements being alleged as stolen by Sheeran are simply not unique enough to infringe copyright. However, federal judge Louis Stanton now has a different position on the matter. 

In a ruling on Thursday, Judge Stanton said there was “no bright-line rule” for such a decision and Sheeran and his legal team would now need to take their arguments before a jury of his peers.

“There is no bright-line rule that the combination of two unprotectable elements is insufficiently numerous to constitute an original work,” judge Stanton stated in his ruling. “A work may be copyrightable even though it is entirely a compilation of unprotectable elements.”

The stage is now set for a trial at a Manhattan court before a jury. 

In other Sheeran songwriting news, the singer has released a track in honour of Pokémon called Celestial – to be featured in the new Scarlet and Violet videogames in the franchise. 

Ed Sheeran interview: “The first song I ever learned to play on the guitar was Layla by Eric Clapton. I used to know all the solos for Guns N’ Roses songs”

Rob Laing
Guitars Editor, MusicRadar

I'm the Guitars Editor for MusicRadar, handling news, reviews, features, tuition, advice for the strings side of the site and everything in between. Before MusicRadar I worked on guitar magazines for 15 years, including Editor of Total Guitar in the UK. When I'm not rejigging pedalboards I'm usually thinking about rejigging pedalboards.