Ed Sheeran continues his legal triumphs as a federal judge dismissed a second copyright case accusing him of copying Marvin Gaye‘s “Let’s Get It On.”
U.S. District Judge Louis Stanton, who ruled last fall that Sheeran would face a jury trial for this second case, surprised everyone by reversing himself and dismissing the case without a trial. The judge determined that the combination of elements allegedly stolen by Sheeran, a chord progression and harmonic rhythm, was not unique enough to be protected by copyright law.
“It is an unassailable reality that the chord progression and harmonic rhythm in ‘Let’s Get It On’ are so commonplace, in isolation and in combination, that to protect their combination would give ‘Let’s Get It On’ an impermissible monopoly over a basic musical building block,” Judge Stanton wrote, according to Billboard, echoing the arguments that Sheeran’s attorneys made throughout last month’s trial.
The recent verdict comes less than two weeks after a jury cleared him, and his co-writer Amy Wadge, of infringement on the popular song and millions of dollars in potential damages. However, there is still the possibility of appeals for both the previous verdict and the recent ruling.
Structured Asset Sales, an entity owned by industry executive David Pullman that owns a separate one-third stake in Ed Townsend’s copyrights — the man who co-write “Let’s Get It On” — is pursuing a third case based on a different copyright covering Gaye’s famous recorded version of the song.
Following the ruling, Pullman, in an interview with Billboard, expressed his company’s intention to appeal Tuesday’s decision on various grounds. He emphasized their determination to pursue the third case, which had been put on hold during the proceedings of the other cases.
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