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Ed Sheeran Speaks Out After Winning ‘Thinking Out Loud’ Copyright Case: Read His Full Statement

tazz | May 4, 2023

Ed Sheeran was found not liable in the copyright case revolving around his hit single “Thinking Out Loud” on Thursday (May 4).


The singer had been accused of copying the chord structure of Marvin Gaye‘s 1973 classic “Let’s Get It On,” and even took the stand in his own defense during the trial. The legal team for songwriter Ed Townsend, meanwhile, felt they had a “smoking gun” on their side in footage from a Zurich concert in which Sheeran segued between Gaye’s soulful single and his own romantic smash from 2014’s Multiply.

Ahead of the verdict, Sheeran — whose sixth album Subtract is out this Friday (May 5) via Atlantic Records — vowed he would give up music in the event he didn’t win the case that was calling his integrity as a songwriter into question. However, Sheerios can now breathe a sigh of relief that their favorite singer-singer will still be doing what he does best — though he has strong feelings about the viability of cases like this one in the industry and how they can affect our culture.

Read Sheeran’s full statement from the courthouse steps below:

Good afternoon,

I am obviously very happy with the outcome of the case, and it looks like I’m not going to have to retire from my day job after all – but, at the same time, I am unbelievably frustrated that baseless claims like this are allowed to go to court at all. 

We have spent the last eight years talking about two songs with dramatically different lyrics, melodies and four chords which are also different and used by songwriters every day, all over the world. 

These chords are common building blocks which were used to create music long before “Let’s Get It On” was written and will be used to make music long after we are all gone.  They are a songwriter’s ‘alphabet’, our tool kit and should be there for us all to use. No-one owns them or the way they are played, in the same way, nobody owns the colour blue.

Unfortunately, unfounded claims like this one are being fueled by individuals who are offered as experts in musical analysis.  In this instance, the other side’s musicologist left out words and notes, presented simple (and different) pitches as melody, creating misleading comparisons and disinformation to find supposed similarities where none exist. They tried to manipulate my and Amy’s song to try to convince the jury that they had a genuine claim, and I am very grateful that the jury saw through those attempts.  This seems so dangerous to me, both for potential claimants who may be convinced to bring a bogus claim, as well as those songwriters facing them.  It is simply wrong. By stopping this practice, we can also properly support genuine music copyright claims so that legitimate claims are rightly heard and resolved. 

If the Jury had decided this matter the other way, we might as well say goodbye to the creative freedom of songwriters.  We need to be able to write our original music and engage in independent creation without worrying at every step of the way that such creativity will be wrongly called into question.  Like artists everywhere, Amy and I work hard to independently create songs which are often based around real-life, personal experiences.  It is devastating to be accused of stealing other people’s songs when we have put so much work into our livelihoods.   

I am just a guy with a guitar who loves writing music for people to enjoy. I am not and will never allow myself to be a piggy bank for anyone to shake. Having to be in New York for this trial has meant that I have missed being with my family at my grandmother’s funeral in Ireland. I won’t get that time back.

These trials take a significant toll on everybody involved, including Kathryn Townsend Griffin.

I want to thank the jury for making a decision that will help to protect the creative process of songwriters here in the United States and around the world.   

I also want to thank my team who has supported me throughout this difficult process and to all the songwriters, musicians and fans who reached out with messages of support over the last few weeks.  

Finally, I want to thank Amy Wadge. Neither of us ever expected that 9 years on from our wonderful writing session that we would be here having to defend our integrity. Amy, I feel so lucky to have you in my life. 

We need songwriters and the wider musical community to come together to bring back common sense. These claims need to be stopped so that the creative process can carry on, and we can all just go back to making music. At the same time, we absolutely need trusted individuals, real experts who help support the process of protecting copyright. Thank you.

Written by tazz

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