Ed Sheeran wins copyright case: You will ‘get this with every pop song from now on’

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Last week, Ed Sheeran was in court for the copyright lawsuit that alleged his “Thinking Out Loud” lifted the chord progression from Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On.” When asked by his lawyer what he’d do if he lost, Ed said he’d be done with music. Well, he won his copyright case like, the next day so I guess he’ll be treating us to more music. Ed sat down with CBS Sunday Morning to talk about the trial and his new album, among other things. He clearly feels vindicated, saying that you can only get caught if you’ve done something wrong, and he talked about chord progressions and the likelihood of commonalities between pop songs.

Ed Sheeran, one of the biggest musical artists on the planet, has spent the past two weeks defending his integrity in a New York City courtroom, fighting a lawsuit in which the family of the co-writer of Marvin Gaye’s classic “Let’s Get It On” claims Sheeran stole the chord progression for his song “Thinking Out Loud.” Sheeran opens up about the trial, his new album, body image, and more in an interview with correspondent Seth Doane for “CBS Sunday Morning” to be broadcast May 7 on CBS and streamed on Paramount+.

Sheeran, who won the New York case Thursday, said that lawsuits are a fact of life for artists today.

“I just think it comes with the territory,” Sheeran told Doane in an interview conducted before the verdict was announced. “When they say, ‘There’s a hit, there’s a writ,’ it’s true. Every single hit.

“There’s four chords that get used in pop songs and there’s however many notes, eight notes or whatever, and there’s 60,000 songs released every single day,” Sheeran said. “And if you just think mathematically the likelihood of this song having the same chords as this song … You are going to get this with every single pop song from now on, like, unless it just stops, which I don’t think it does because it’s a big money business to take things to court.”

Sheeran told Doane it’s a topic that riles him up, and will have an impact throughout the business.

“You can only get caught out if you’ve done something wrong,” Sheeran said. “And I’m not – I have not done something wrong. I’m not lying here. I used four chords that are very common chords to use, and they sound like lots of songs.”

[From CBS Sunday Morning]

So when I read Ed was quitting music if he lost, I felt a little bad for him. (Even though I don’t like him and on the inside I was like is that a promise?) Because it sucks if you become disheartened and quit something you love. But hearing him now that he’s won, I was reminded of how self-righteous he sounded last time he won one of the multiple copyright cases that have been brought against him. Then I went back and re-read the article from last week and I was wrong. “‘If that happens, I’m done, I’m stopping,’ Sheeran said. ‘I find it to be really insulting,’ he added. ‘I work really hard to be where I’m at.’” That second line — that’s not disheartened; that’s flouncing off in a huff because you didn’t get your way. Ugh.

Whether Ed wins or loses his copyright cases, it still seems like he gets sued more frequently than other artists do. And even if there are only so many chord progressions, it does seem like a lot of his stuff sounds very similar to other (usually Black) artists. I don’t know what the solution is here. Something tells me this isn’t the last of these stories about Ed. But for now, he’s enjoying his victory and hopped up on a car for an impromptu performance in NYC after his American Express pop-up. Thank God I can’t afford to live in SoHo because this would have driven me nuts.

— People (@people) May 6, 2023

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