Ed Sheeran’s copyright infringement trial began earlier this week in New York. Sheeran took the stand on Tuesday, April 25, and defended against allegations that he stole from Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On” for his 2014 pop ballad “Thinking Out Loud.”
Ben Crump, the plaintiffs’ attorney, presented a past show of Sheeran’s during which he performed a mashup of “Let’s Get It On” and “Thinking Out Loud” as “a confession” to plagiarism, as reported by The Guardian, and Sheeran swatted that logic away: “If I had done what you’re accusing me of doing, I’d be a quite an idiot to stand on a stage in front of 20,000 people and do that.”
On Thursday, April 27, Sheeran upped his defense by playing “Thinking Out Loud” for the jury. The Associated Press relayed the scene:
“He reached back, grabbed his guitar from a rack behind the witness stand, and explained that writing a song was second nature to him. He said he used his own version of phonetics to create songs so quickly that he could write up to nine in a day. Even last weekend, Sheeran claimed, he wrote 10 songs. Then he sang just a few words of the pivotal tune, bringing smiles to the faces of some of the spectators in the courtroom of Judge Louis L. Stanton.
‘I’m singing out loud,’ he sang, loud enough to be heard but not raising decibels in the court. After he finished singing those words, he spoke a few too, saying ‘and then words fall in’ as he tried to teach the jury his method of creating music. He said he collaborated on the song with a co-writer, Amy Wadge, who wrote the opening chords.”
As explained by The New York Times, the plaintiffs in the case are the heirs of Ed Townsend, a credited songwriter on Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On,” and the lawsuit was filed against Sheeran in 2017.