“Let’s Get It On” co-writer’s family drops appeal of Ed Sheeran copyright case

Ed Sheeran outside a New York City courtroom after initial victory in copyright case, May 2023; ABC News

The family of Marvin Gaye‘s co-writer on Thursday withdrew its appeal of a verdict that determined Ed Sheeran did not infringe on the copyright for “Let’s Get It On” when he created his song “Thinking Out Loud.”

In a one-page filing, the parties notified the court they agreed to withdraw the appeal. No reason was given.

In May, a Manhattan federal court jury sided with Sheeran, who insisted the chord progression of his song was common and belonged to no particular artist.

The family of Ed Townsend, Gaye’s co-writer, argued unsuccessfully that Sheeran copied the sheet music of “Let’s Get it On,” which became Gaye’s first number-one hit. As evidence, a video was played in court showing Sheeran performing both songs as a medley in concert in 2014. The attorney representing Townsend’s family, Benjamin Crump, called it a smoking gun.

“When someone provides you a voluntary confession, believe them,” Crump said during trial.

But after the video was shown, Sheeran told the court, “If I had done what you’re accusing me of doing I’d be quite an idiot to stand onstage in front of 25,000 people.”

In a statement following Thursday’s news of the appeal being dropped, Sheeran’s attorney Ilene Farkas said, “Ed defended this claim, which was always viewed as baseless, through to a jury verdict finding he and [co-writer] Amy Wadge independently created ‘Thinking Out Loud,’ and was fully prepared to do so through an appeal as well.”

“The plaintiffs recognized that an appeal would end up with the verdict being affirmed but also with them being exposed to legal fees and costs, and wisely withdrew the appeal,” she added.

Attorneys for the Townsend family did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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