Ed Sheeran says he’s “done” with music if copyright lawsuit succeeds


English singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran is one of the biggest musical acts of his generation. The Grammy-winning “Shape of You” singer is one of the best-selling artists of all time with multiple chart-topping albums and singles.

But now, a lawsuit is threatening to kill Sheeran’s career right at the height of his fame — Sheeran said he’s “done” with music if he loses the case.

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Ed Sheeran is being sued by the estate of Ed Townsend, who co-wrote Marvin Gaye’s 1973 soul classic “Let’s Get It On.” The lawsuit alleges that Sheeran’s 2014 hit “Thinking Out Loud” has “striking similarities” to the earlier song that violates copyright, according to AP.

The copyright infringement lawsuit was first filed in 2017 but only recently went to trial. According to CNN, Sheeran took the stand on Monday and fiercely defended himself and the song, calling the allegations “really insulting.”

He reportedly disputed the testimony of the plaintiff’s expert witness Alexander Stewart. Stewart had claimed that the chords used in Sheeran’s track were “virtually identical” to those in “Let’s Get it On,” but Sheeran said they were simply a “common progression” used in many songs.

“I think what he’s doing is criminal here,” Sheeran said of Stewart, according to People. “I don’t know why he’s allowed to be an expert.”

Sheeran also reportedly played the chords to the tunes of multiple other songs to demonstrate how common the progression is.

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Amy Wadge, who co-wrote “Thinking Out Loud” with Sheeran, also testified, saying that she was just using a basic chord structure used in many songs. “I was just playing some simple chords that I knew how to play,” Wadge testified, saying it was “not possible” for her to have infringed on another song.

“It was pretty devastating and pretty frightening because it’s something we did not do,” Wadge said.

“Done” with music if lawsuit succeeds

Speaking to People, Sheeran said that if he loses the lawsuit, he will quit music.

“If that happens, I’m done, I’m stopping,” Sheeran told People.

“I find it to be really insulting,” he added. “I work really hard to be where I’m at.”

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The lawsuit could have broader ramifications for the music industry if the plaintiffs succeed: the legal precedent could open up a floodgate of lawsuits against artists for using similar chord progressions.

Copyright has long been a contentious legal issue within the music industry; many artists and producers have filed lawsuits alleging plagiarism. Some have been dismissed, others granting the original artists royalties or songwriting co-credits.

Most of these disputes have been over similar-sounding melodies, not chord progressions.

One of the most high-profile recent cases also involved the late Marvin Gaye’s music: a five-year legal battle regarding the hit song “Blurred Lines” ended with Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams paying $5 million to Marvin Gaye’s estate, which alleged strong similarities to two of Gaye’s songs.

Sheeran has also faced his own previous lawsuits: he won a previous copyright infringement lawsuit in the UK last year over his song “Shape of You.” At the time, Sheeran slammed “baseless” musical lawsuits.

“I’m not an entity, I’m not a corporation, I’m a human being,” he said. “I’m a father, I’m a husband, I’m a son. Lawsuits are not a pleasant experience, and I hope that this ruling, it means in the future, baseless claims like this can be avoided. This really does have to end.”

Whether you’re a fan of Ed Sheeran or not, this lawsuit could have a huge impact on the careers of music artists everywhere, so we hope things go in Ed Sheeran’s favor.

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