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Heirs of Ed Townsend who composed and co-wrote Marvin Gaye’s ‘Lets Get It On’ are suing Ed Sheeran, claiming that his song ‘Thinking Out Loud’ breaches its copyright. They claim that Ed Sheeran’s song copies core elements of the 70s song. In particular they claim that the harmonic progressions, and melodic and rhythmic elements are ‘strikingly similar’ to the drum composition of ‘Lets Get It On’.

This is not the first time Ed Sheeran has been sued under copyright law, previously musicians claimed ‘Photograph’ breached copyright in their song ‘Amazing’.

In another musical copyright wrangle, Marvin Gaye’s family successfully sued Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams last year, and were awarded $7million in damages for copyright infringement of Gaye’s song ‘Got To Give It Up’ in their single ‘Blurred Lines’. The decision was not at all welcomed in the music industry - songwriters and composers are concerned that it sets a difficult precedent for musicians and they say the real blurred line is between being inspired by and actually copying a song.

You may not be concerned about song-writing but there are many areas of copyright law that affect individuals and businesses on a daily basis. At Edwards and Co. we can advise you on this and other aspects of intellectual property law. If you require advice or assistance please contact Jenny Ebbage or Catherine Cooney.


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