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In Let's Get It On Trial Ed Sheeran Sang Amy Wadge Chords now She Tells of 5% Song Cut

by Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Book Substack

SDNY COURTHOUSE, May 1 – In 2017 Ed Sheeran was sued for allegedly infringing the copyright of Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On" in his 2014 song, "Thinking Out Loud." 

 On April 24, 2023 the jury begins before U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Louis L. Stanton. Inner City Press will cover it. 

 The actual Marvin Gaye recording may not be played for the jury. But a 2014 YouTube concern clip of Sheeran breaking into Let's Get It On while (singing) Thinking Out Loud may be - the clip is here, at 4:29.

   The plaintiff is not Marvin Gaye but rather Kathryn Griffin-Townsend as heir of Ed Townsend, Gaye's co-writer on "Let's Get It On." Among plaintiffs' counsel is Ben Crump.

On April 24 for jury selection, Crump was there. In the jury pool were a musicology, a mother with two daughters who are Sheeran fans, and a woman who had Sheeran's "Perfect" as her wedding song. Thread here. The jury was picked and sent home; chords - four or six was the debate - were played.

On April 25, opening arguments and witnesses including Ed Sheeran (who later left court without comment). Inner City Press was there, thread here.

  On May 1, Sheeran continued with guitar on the stand, until he was cross examined. Then Amy Wadge... Inner City live tweeted, here:

OK - now the Ed Sheeran trial for allegedly rippi ng off Let's Get It On has resumed, with Sheeran on the stand.

Ed Sheeran has his guitar on the witness stand, again. Counsel: What happened after you arrived at the studio? Sheeran: We caught up then recorded the song. I played the guitar on it. 

Counsel: Other people contributed parts?

Sheeran: Yes. As session musicians Sheeran: We went out to a pub nearby and we played the song there. Counsel: Defendant's exhibit 236, I'll show you the opening frame. Sheeran: Do I wait for it to be on the main screen?

Counsel: No, it's just for you.

Sheeran: I recognize it. Counsel: I move to admit it into evidence... Do you recall what chord you were playing when you sang some of the words to Let's Get It On?

 Now Sheeran again picks up guitar and plays and sings. Counsel: What were you listening to at the time? Sheeran: What I'd grown up listening to. Van Morrison...

 Cross examination:  Plaintiff's counsel: You say you were taking a shower than came out and heard Amy playing a song?

Sheeran: I took a shower, yes. She playing chords she'd used busking. They're very common chords. In Let's Get It On trial now Amy Wadge in on the stand. Q: When did you meet Ed Sheeran? Wadge: He was sent to write songs with me. He was 17. I was 32. It was very much the beginning of his career.

Amy Wadge: Ed gave me 5% on a song that he said was related to one I wrote. Plaintiff's counsel: Do you think he copies your song on purpose? Sheeran's lawyer: Objection! Judge Stanton: Overruled. Wadge: He heard it and said it remined him, so gave me 5%.

Plaintiff's lawyer: If there are only seven notes in a scale, what is the purpose of copyright? Amy Wadge: To protect the progress of art. I use only four chords. I do not have the musically ability to do anything but use those building blocks.

Plaintiff's lawyer: If everything is fair game, why would you accept a dollar for you work, or a pound? Sheeran's lawyer: Objection. Judge Stanton: Sustained under 403. Plaintiff's lawyer: You said you were familiar with Let's Get It On? Wadge: Yes.

Plaintiff's lawyer: Over here, Let's Get It On is used to sell ribs for Applebee's, did you know? Wadge: No. Plaintiff's lawyer: Did you check if your song infringed on Let's Get it On? Wadge: No. Plaintiff's lawyer: You're being sued in another case? Wadge: Yes

Plaintiff's lawyer: What kind of discussion have you had with Mr. Sheeran about these cases? Wadge: No, we decided a long time not to talk about it.

Plaintiff's lawyer: Are you aware of the Zurich video? Wadge: I've seen it. Now the Ed Sheeran trial, too, has ended for the day.  Will any more guitar be seen in the trial?

More on Substack here

   Team Crump email on Patreon here

The case is Griffin, et al. v. Sheeran, et al., 17-cv-5221 (Stanton) 


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