Ed Sheeran Wins Copyright Trial

Sofia Taddeo-Goldstein, Opinion Editor

On May 4, a Manhattan jury concluded that music artist Ed Sheeran did not steal parts of Marvin Gaye’s song “Let’s Get It On” in producing his hit song “Thinking Out Loud.” Sheeran was accused of copyright infringement by Kathryn Townsend Griffin, the daughter of the late co-writer of “Let’s Get It On,” Ed Townsend.

The lawsuit claimed that Sheeran copied elements of the song “Let’s Get It On,” such as chord progressions and rhythms. Sheeran and his co-writer, Amy Wadge, thoroughly maintained that they independently created the song. The trial featured Sheeran playing guitar and singing while in court.

 “He writes all of his songs himself with the help of some other people, so I think that his music is original,” Miami Palmetto Senior High junior and avid Ed Sheeran fan Isabella Diez said.

Sheeran stated that if he was found guilty of copyright infringement, he would have ended his music career.

Townsend Griffin was represented by civil rights attorney Ben Crump. Crump is recognized for being “Black America’s Surgeon General” and has been the attorney in many recognized racial-injustice cases, representing those such as the families of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Trayvon Martin, Breonna Taylor and Ralph Yarl.

At a press conference prior to the trial, Crump claimed that Sheeran stole a black musician’s music due to him not believing it deserved compensation. Sheeran’s lawyers rebuked Crump’s comments, stating that race had nothing to do with the case. Race was not mentioned inside the courtroom.

At the start of the trial, Crump displayed a video of a concert Sheeran performed in Switzerland, where he played a mashup of the songs “Thinking Out Loud” and “Let’s Get It On,” arguing that it clearly demonstrated infringement and calling it a “smoking gun.”

“I like [Sheeran’s music] just because he puts a lot of feelings that I feel like other people have felt into words…the rhythms that he creates are really nice,” Diez said.

After the verdict was ruled in Sheeran’s favor, he and Townsend Griffin were seen speaking for approximately ten minutes and subsequently hugging.