Ed Sheeran seems pretty harmless, but according to the company that partly owns the rights to the late Marvin Gaye’s song “Let’s Get It On,” he’s a shady plagiarizer who ripped off Marvin for his song “Thinking Out Loud.” The Guardian says that Ed is now facing a copyright infringement lawsuit, and the “Let’s Get It On” people want to be compensated to the tune of $100 million.
The lawsuit comes from a company called Structured Asset Sales, who owns part of the copyright on “Let’s Get It On.” They aren’t part of Marvin Gaye’s estate. They’re a company where musicians can sell off their future income in exchange for immediate cash. At some point in time, Structured Asset Sales did a deal with Marvin’s late co-writer, Ed Townsend Jr. for part of “Let’s Get It On.” According to the lawsuit, Structured Asset Sales is accusing Ed of copying the following from Marvin Gaye’s 1973 hit: the melody, the rhythms, the harmonies, the drums, the bass line, the backing chorus, the tempo, the syncopation, and the looping.
Here’s a mash-up of “Thinking Out Loud” and “Let’s Get It On.”
It does sound very similar, which really is too much of a surprise considering this is actually the second time Ed has been sued for sounding like Marvin Gaye. Two years ago, the family of Ed Townsend Jr. sued Ed for having “Thinking Out Loud” sound way too much like “Let’s Get It On.” The following year, a federal judge dismissed their complaint. Structured Asset Sales actually asked to piggy-back onto that lawsuit back in May. In early June, U.S. District Judge Richard Sullivan turned them down after informing them that they had waited a really long time to do so (Ed’s song came out in 2014, and Ed Townsend Jr.s’ family sued in 2016). So Structured Asset Sales decided to go ahead and file their own suit.
“Thinking Out Loud” was a huge hit for Ed, going number 1 on a variety of charts, including the US Adult Top 40. It also won Song of the Year and Best Pop Solo Performance at the 2016 Grammy awards.
Who knows if Structured Asset Sales will have better luck than Ed Townsend Jr.s’ family. There is a chance they could potentially walk away successful. Back in 2015, a jury declared that Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams had ripped off Marvin Gaye’s song “Got To Give It Up” when they recorded “Blurred Lines.” Then again, there is a very easy way to settle this. Yes, they sound the same, but just how much do they sound the same really? Because I could listen to the smooth, sexiness of “Let’s Get It On” almost indefinitely. Whereas I’m stuffing my ears with steel wool and whimpering, “For the love of all that is holy, please make it stop” about about a minute into Ed’s when it comes on the radio.