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Appeal planned after Ed Sheeran win over copyright infringement lawsuit involving ‘Thinking Out Loud’

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(NEW YORK) — The family of Marvin Gaye’s co-writer on “Let’s Get it On” intends to appeal a verdict in Manhattan federal court for Ed Sheeran, according to a court filing Thursday.

The family of Ed Townsend filed a notice of appeal after it lost a copyright infringement case involving Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud” last month.

The document did not say on what grounds the Townsend family would appeal but it did signal the family would challenge the outcome and several rulings made by the judge.

A Manhattan jury decided in Sheeran’s favor in May when they found that the singer did not engage in willful copyright infringement following a trial that saw Sheeran playing the guitar and singing in court.

“I’m obviously very happy with the outcome of the case. And it looks like I’m not having to retire from my day job after all,” Sheeran told reporters outside the courthouse at the time. “But at the same time, I’m unbelievably frustrated that baseless claims like this are allowed to go to court at all.”

Sheeran insisted he chord progression of his song was common and belonged to no particular artist.

Sheeran also testified that he wrote most of his songs in a day, suggesting under questioning by his attorney, Ilene Farkas, that he did not stop to think about copying elements from “Let’s Get It On” when he composed “Thinking Out Loud,” as alleged by Townsend’s heirs.

Townsend’s family said Sheeran copied the sheet music of “Let’s Get it On” and positioned the case as justice for Townsend’s legacy and Black musicians whose work has been misappropriated by white artists.

Ben Crump, who represented the plaintiffs, said during opening remarks that the suit was about “giving credit where credit is due.”

Sheeran previously won a 2022 copyright infringement case involving “Shape of You,” while Gaye’s heirs, who are not involved in this current lawsuit, won a case in 2015 against Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams involving “Got to Give it Up.”

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