Jury selection and opening statements are set to begin Monday in a trial that mashes up Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud” with Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On.”
The heirs of Ed Townsend, Gaye’s co-writer of the 1973 soul classic, sued Sheeran, alleging the English pop star’s hit 2014 tune has “striking similarities” to “Let’s Get It On” and “overt common elements” that violate their copyright.
The lawsuit filed in 2017 has finally made it to a trial that is expected to last a week in the Manhattan federal courtroom of 95-year-old Judge Louis L. Stanton.
Sheeran is among the witnesses expected to testify.
While the jury will hear the recordings of both songs, probably many times, their lyrics — and vibes — are legally insignificant. Jurors are supposed to only consider the raw elements of melody, harmony and rhythm that make up the composition of “Let’s Get It On,” as documented on sheet music filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.