Let’s Get (This Trial) On: Copyright lawsuit over classic Marvin Gaye hit headed to court in September

Jim Britt/Michael Ochs Archive/Getty Images; ABC/Paula LoboA copyright lawsuit claiming that U.K. pop star Ed Sheeran‘s 2014 hit “Thinking Out Loud” rips off late Motown legend Marvin Gaye‘s classic “Let’s Get It On” is headed to a courtroom this September.

According to Bill Donahue, a reporter at Law360, the trial date is scheduled for September 11 in New York City. The jury trial is expected to last five to seven days.

As previously reported, the heirs of “Let’s Get It On” co-writer Edward B. Townsend, who own the copyright to the tune, have accused Sheeran of copyright infringement, claiming that “Thinking Out Loud” is too similar to Gaye’s song — a chart-topping hit in 1973.

Last month, a judge decided that because there are substantial “material facts” in dispute — facts that must be determined by a jury trial — he refused Sheeran’s motion to dismiss the suit. 

Those “facts” include whether or not the chord progression used in “Let’s Get It On” — and also used in “Thinking Out Loud” — is “commonplace.” 

Another “fact” would be whether or not the musical elements in the two songs are so similar that the average person would hear “Thinking Out Loud” and feel that it had been appropriated from “Let’s Get It On.”

In last month’s decision, the judge noted that a jury might be swayed by a video that exists of one of Sheeran’s live performances, in which he transitions “seamlessly” between the two songs. Videos of Ed doing that can be easily found on YouTube.

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