In 2018, the owners of the copyright to Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On” sued Ed Sheeran for alleged copyright infringement, claiming that his hit “Thinking Out Loud” ripped off Gaye’s 1973 classic. Wednesday in a Manhattan federal court, the Marvin Gaye copyright holders won a round in the battle.
The copyright holders claim that because “Thinking Out Loud” infringes upon “Let’s Get It On,” every time Ed’s performed his song live, he’s improperly profited from those performances. Wednesday, the judge granted the copyright holder’s request for documents about Ed’s ticket sales, merchandising and endorsements from live performances during which he performed “Thinking Out Loud.”
“To the extent each live performance of ‘Thinking Out Loud’ was a separate, unauthorized act infringing [the copyright holders’] copyright interest in “Let’s Get It On,” a schedule of such infringing acts, as well as the revenues and expenses attributable to each, are proportional to the needs of the case,” wrote the judge.
Considering Ed’s recently wrapped Divide tour was the highest-grossing of all time, and he performed that song quite a bit during the two-year trek, we’re talking about a lot of money.
Indeed, the judge wrote, “The amount in controversy is many millions of dollars.”
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