Ed Sheeran says he'll QUIT music if he's found guilty of copying song

‘If that happens I’m done, I’m stopping!’ Ed Sheeran tells NYC court he’ll QUIT music if he’s found guilty of ripping off Marvin Gaye’s ‘Let’s Get it On’ – as he brands $100M copyright trial ‘insulting’

  • Ed Sheeran vowed to quit music if a federal jury finds him guilty of plagiarizing Marvin Gaye’s hit song ‘Let’s Get it On’ as he took the stand on Monday
  • The 32-year-old singer-songwriter is accused of lifting a four-chord progression from the soul classic in his song ‘Thinking Out Loud’
  • He called the claims ‘insulting’ 

Ed Sheeran said on Monday he would quit music if he is found guilty of ripping off Marvin Gaye’s soul classic ‘Let’s Get it On,’ saying the claims are ‘insulting.’

The 32-year-old British singer-songwriter vehemently denied the claims he infringed upon Gaye and his co-writer Ed Townsend’s 1973 hit when he wrote and composed ‘Thinking Out Loud’ as he took the stand in Manhattan federal court on Monday.

He even vowed that if the jury does find him guilty, he will be ‘done’ with music.

‘If that happens, I’m done, I’m stopping,’ Sheeran said when asked by his attorney Ilene Farkas about the toll the trial is taking on him.

‘I find it really insulting to devote my whole life to being a performer and a songwriter and have someone diminish it,’ the ‘Shape of You’ singer added.

Sheeran is being sued by Townsend’s heirs, who claim there are ‘striking similarities’ between the tracks. They are seeking a whopping $100million in restitution.

Ed Sheeran is pictured arriving in Manhattan federal court on Monday for the second week of his copyright infringement trial

The 32-year-old British singer-songwriter strummed the chords he is accused of lifting from Marvin Gaye’s 1973 hit ‘Let’s Get it On’ as he took the stand

At the Manhattan federal court last week, lawyers for Townsend’s heirs displayed a video of Sheeran transitioning seamlessly between ‘Thinking Out Loud’ and ‘Let’s Get it On’ during a live performance.

Doing so, they said, amounted to a confession that he had ripped off the song.

But in court on Monday, Sheeran said he and other performers frequently perform ‘mash ups,’ and that he had on other occasions combined ‘Thinking Out Loud’ with Van Morrison’s ‘Crazy in Love’ and Dolly Parton’s ‘I Will Always Love You.’

‘I mash up songs at lots of gigs. Many songs have similar chords. You can go from “Let It Be” to “No Woman No Cry” and switch back,’ he said.

‘And quite frankly, if I’d done what you’re accusing me of doing, I’d be quite an idiot to stand on a stage in front of 20,000 people and do that,’ he added.

He also noted that his hit song was actually been inspired by Irish musician Van Morrison.

To prove his point, the singer strummed the four-chord sequence he is accused of lifting from ‘Let’s Get it On,’ as part of his rendition of Morrison tracks, including ‘Tupelo Honey’ and ‘Crazy Love.’

The singer also hit out at the plaintiff’s expert witness, musicologist Alexander Stewart, who argued last week that the first 24 seconds of ‘Thinking Out Loud’ were similar to the beginning of ‘Let’s Get it On.’ 

Stewart said in court that they ‘have the same harmonic rhythm’ while pointing out melodic similarities in the verse, chorus and interlude. 

A computer generated version of Let’s Get it On was played in court during Stewart’s testimony, which took up all of the proceedings on Wednesday.

Insider reported that laughter broke out in the courtroom as the computer-generated version of Let’s Get it On was played to highlight the similarities between the tracks.

But in transcribing the song, Sheeran said, Stewart had altered it to make the chords and melody sound more like Gaye’s song.

‘If I have to be honest, what he’s doing here is criminal,’ Sheeran said. ‘I don’t know why he’s allowed to be an expert.’

Sheeran later became combative under cross-examination by Patrick Frank, a lawyer for the heirs, brushing aside discrepancies between his and his co-writer Amy Wadge’s accounts of exactly when and how ‘Thinking Out Loud’ was written in February 2014.

He ridiculed Frank’s questions about how often Sheeran collaborates with others in writing songs, which he said was common practice.

‘You’re not, like, breaking new ground here,’ he said.

Sheeran is accused of lifting the beginning of his hit song ‘Thinking Out Loud’ from Marvin Gaye’s soul classic ‘Let’s Get it On.’ Gaye is pictured here in 1973

Kathryn Townsend Griffin, the daughter of Gaye’s co-writer Ed Townsend, is pictured outside the court on Monday

Townsend’s family is being represented by famed civil rights lawyer Ben Crump, pictured here entering court on Monday

The singer had earlier described his process for writing the song about everlasting love soon after he began a new romantic relationship and after his grandfather died.

‘I draw inspiration a lot from things in my life and family,’ said Sheeran.

Sheeran said Wadge started strumming the chords for the song during a visit to his home in England, and that they collaborated on the lyrics.

On the stand, he sang the phrase ‘I’m singing out now,’ which he said he sang during his songwriting session with Wadge. 

His song topped charts in both the UK and the United States. In 2016 it won a Grammy Award for song of the year but in 2017 Townsend’s family sued for copyright infringement.

If Sheeran is found liable, there will be a second trial to determine the damages amount. 

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