If it turns out that Ed Sheeran has indeed stolen Marvin Gaye's iconic song Let's Get It On, he would certainly be in hot water and even possibly end his career. According to the Shape of You singer, he would be "done."
Ed Sheeran To Quit Music If He Loses Copyright Lawsuit — “If That Happens, I’m Done"
The copyright infringement case has undoubtedly taken a toll on the 32-year-old British singer-songwriter, who expressed his concern to his attorney Ilene Farkas.
Career Threatening Outcome
Sheeran's attorney questioned the possible outcomes if the trial, which is currently in dispute in federal court, doesn't rule in his favor, and the plaintiffs are granted ownership of the chord progression in his song.
He responded, “If that happens, I’m done — I’m stopping.”
Sheeran went on to express his frustration about this possible outcome, stating “I find it really insulting to work my whole life as a singer-songwriter and diminish it.”
During the trial, Sheeran's attorney questioned him about his live shows and the writing process of his song Thinking Out Loud, which contains elements that are claimed to be lifted from Gaye's 1973 R&B classic.
The four-time Grammy Award-winning artist denied the accusation that he had copied Gaye's song to write his 2014 hit, Shape of You.
Farkas questioned, “Did you copy anything from ‘Let’s Get It On’ when you wrote ‘Thinking Out Loud’?”
“No,” Sheeran firmly responded.
Sheeran, who had previously performed a part of Thinking Out Loud while testifying, showcased a variety of Van Morrison mashups for the courtroom to hear.
Showing Off Musical Expertise
While performing versions of Van Morrison's songs, such as Crazy Love and Tupelo Honey, on the stand, Sheeran played a four-chord sequence that he is accused of taking from Let's Get It On.
Suspecious Melody Similarities
Amy Wadge, who co-wrote Thinking Out Loud with Sheeran, testified to the jurors about the creation process of the song. She shared that, in her opinion, the melody had greater similarities to Morrison's Have I Told You Lately.
In her testimony, Wadge stated that Gaye was never a source of inspiration during the songwriting process.
Same Sort Of Feel
“Once we had written and Ed started playing it from the phone, we both said it was a Van (Morrison) song,” she claimed. “It had the same sort of feel as a Van Morrison song.”
During Sheeran's testimony, he dismissed the claim of the plaintiffs' musicologist Alexander Stewart that the opening 24 seconds of Thinking Out Loud were comparable to the start of Let's Get It On.
“If I have to be honest, what he’s doing here is criminal,” stated Sheeran.
He went on to question Stewart’s expertise, saying “… I don’t know how he could be an expert. Obviously, just my opinion here.”
Sheeran showed signs of irritation while being cross-examined by plaintiff lawyer Robert Frank regarding his history of working with other musicians and his approach to playing music.
He said, "Me — personally, I know what I’m playing on guitar."
Prior to his testimony, Sheeran embraced the daughter of the late Ed Townsend Kathryn, Townsend Griffin, who is one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit against him.
Collapses In Court
Following Townsend Griffin's unexpected collapse in the courtroom last week, Sheeran hugged her and exchanged a few words with the co-writer of "Let's Get It On" with Gaye.
Pay To Play
After the court proceedings on Monday, Townsend Griffin said that she did not know Sheeran personally but believes that “You gotta pay – pay to play the music, that’s all.”
Protecting Intellectual Property
“My father told me ‘no matter what, protect my intellectual properties,'” the daughter shared. “That’s one of the very last things he said to me. And I’m doing just that. This ain’t about money. This is about principality and legacy.”
Two Grammy Awards
The Grammy-winning song from Sheeran's 2014 album X earned him two coveted awards for Best Pop Solo Performance and Song of the Year in 2016.
What's Next For Ed Sheeran?
In the event that the jurors rule against Sheeran, he may be required to participate in a second trial to determine the damages to be paid to the Townsend family.