In recent developments, the descendants of the co-writer behind Marvin Gaye’s iconic track, “Let’s Get It On,” have decided to retract their appeal against the previous U.S. jury’s decision, which had ruled in favor of British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran.
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They had previously accused Sheeran of unlawfully mimicking elements of Gaye’s hit in his chart-topping song “Thinking Out Loud.” However, a U.S. jury had exonerated Sheeran of any wrongdoing. As per a court document from Wednesday, Townsend’s heirs have opted to pull back the appeal “with prejudice,” ensuring it cannot be reintroduced later. Commenting on this turn of events, Sheeran’s legal counsel, Ilene Farkas, expressed on Thursday said the estate “recognized that an appeal would end up with the verdict being affirmed but also with them being exposed to legal fees and costs, and wisely withdrew.”
In a development today, Townsend’s representative remained silent, refusing to immediately comment when approached. The backdrop to this? A 2017 legal clash where the heirs of Townsend accused Ed Sheeran, along with Warner and Sony Music, of lifting integral elements from Gaye’s iconic 1973 track to craft Sheeran’s 2014 chart-topper, “Thinking Out Loud”.
However, in this high-profile legal face-off, Sheeran’s legal team has pushed back, suggesting the so-called similarities are mere foundational musical elements – ones that aren’t subject to copyright claims.
After a rigorous six-day trial in May, a jury concluded that Ed Sheeran’s song did not breach the copyright of “Let’s Get It On” by Marvin Gaye. Sheeran expressed his relief post-trial, stating that this verdict would fortify the creative rights of songwriters both domestically and globally.
Further, later in the month, the presiding judge decreed that Sheeran hadn’t transgressed any copyright components belonging to David Pullman’s Structured Asset Sales LLC, the brain behind “Bowie Bonds.” Notably, Pullman’s firm has another lawsuit in the queue against Sheeran, centering on its entitlements to the sound recording of “Let’s Get It On.”