Ed Sheeran Beats Appeal in Marathon ‘Let’s Get It On’ Copyright Infringement Lawsuit

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Ed Sheeran delivering a SiriusXM concert on August 14th, 2023. Photo Credit: Kevin Mazur/SiriusXM

Following a marathon legal battle – including a jury verdict in favor of Ed Sheeran – the estate of a Marvin Gaye collaborator has dropped its copyright infringement suit over “Thinking Out Loud.”

The long-running courtroom confrontation’s conclusion just recently emerged in a jointly filed notice. Counsel for Sheeran as well as the heirs of “Let’s Get It On” co-writer Ed Townsend acknowledged in the document that the “case is withdrawn with prejudice without costs and without attorneys’ fees.”

As covered by DMN, May saw a federal jury side with Sheeran in the high-stakes dispute, determining that the much-streamed act hadn’t infringed upon the soul classic in 2014’s “Thinking Out Loud.” Throughout the multi-week trial, Sheeran made clear his belief that the allegations at hand were frivolous – even indicating that he would end his music career if found liable.

And while Sheeran was rather predictably relieved with the verdict, June brought with it a notice of appeal from the Townsend estate. Though the precise details of the subsequent discussions are unclear, the latter four months did in fact set the stage for the resolution of the appeal and the overarching case, as initially mentioned.

Notwithstanding the abundance of media coverage behind this particular triumph, Sheeran’s now emerged victorious in several infringement suits during the past year or so.

The Halifax, West Yorkshire native in April of 2022 scored a win in an infringement action concerning the alleged unauthorized use of a song entitled “Oh Why” (2015) in 2017’s “Shape of You,” subsequently obtaining an award for north of $1 million in legal fees.

“Our hope in having gone through all of this,” Sheeran and his fellow “Shape of You” creators responded to the development, “is that it shows that there is a need for a safe space for all songwriters to be creative, and free to express their hearts. That is why we all got into this in the first place. Everyone should be able to freely express themselves in music, in art and do so fearlessly.”

Then, also during May of 2023, the same judge who presided over the above-described “Let’s Get It On” infringement action dismissed with prejudice a similar complaint, filed this time by a company called Structured Asset Sales. The latter was said to possess an interest of its own in “Let’s Get It On,” reportedly obtained via a deal with Ed Townsend’s son Clef Michael Townsend.

Earlier this month, ahead of the September 29th release of his seventh studio album, Ed Sheeran kicked off the second season of Amazon Music Live and teed up with iHeartMedia an October “immersive experience” in Fortnite.