"The overlap of the protectable elements alone prevents a judgment of noninfringement as a matter of law," ruled U.S. District Judge Louis Stanton.
On Thursday (Jan. 3), U.S. District Judge Louis Stanton in Manhattan rejected the British pop star's request to dismiss a lawsuit against his 2014 hit "Thinking Out Loud" saying a jury should decide Sheeran's liability, along with those of the song's associated music companies. Sheeran is being sued by the heirs of "Let's Get It On" co-writer Ed Townsend Jr.'s estate. He has denied any wrongdoing.
In Stanton's opinion and order, he found enough similarities between the songs that he could not rule in favor of Sheeran's request to dismiss. Specifically, he noted those elements include the songs' harmonic progressions, harmonic rhythms, melodies, bass lines and percussion. While not all of those elements are necessarily entitled to copyright protection, Stanton ruled there were enough similarities to warrant a trial.