Ed Sheeran, the Grammy-winning British singer, has denied copying Marvin Gaye’s song when he appeared in a New York City court.
The music star is being sued by the heirs of Ed Townsend, co-writer of ‘Let’s Get It On’, a 1973 song by the late Gaye.
The lawsuit, which was initially filed in 2017, alleged “striking similarities” and “overt common elements” between Sheeran’s ‘Thinking Out Loud’ and the 1973 soul classic.
When Sheeran took the stand to testify at the Manhattan federal courtroom on Tuesday, he said he would have to be an “idiot” to rip off Gaye’s song and then perform it for thousands of fans.
“If I had done what you are accusing me of doing, I would be quite an idiot to stand on a stage in front of 20,000 people and do that,” Sheeran told the court.
His comment came after Keisha Rice, Ed Townsend’s counsel, called Sheeran’s use of lyrics from Gaye’s song at his concerts a “smoking gun”.
Earlier, during court proceedings, Ben Crump, another lawyer for the family, argued Sheeran made a “confession” when he combined both hit songs during a live performance in Zurich, Switzerland.
A video was also played in the courtroom of Sheeran bouncing back and forth between his ‘Thinking Out Loud’ and ‘Let’s Get it On’ — with Crump describing the footage as the case’s “smoking gun.”
Reacting, Sheeran attempted to downplay the supposed significance of the performance by saying “I mash up songs at a lot of gigs”.
The 32-year-old singer, however, appeared to be furious when asked if he took classes on musical plagiarism.
“I did not take a degree in plagiarism,” Sheeran fired back.
The trial is expected to last for a week.
But if the seven-member jury finds the singer guilty of the allegation, the trial will enter a second phase to determine how much he owes.
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