The jury trial for the plagiarism lawsuit against Ed Sheeran by Marvin Gaye co-writer Ed Townshend has been postponed until after a similar copyright case involving Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” is resolved.
On Tuesday (July 2), Manhattan District Judge Louis Stanton canceled the Sheeran suit’s September trial, reportedly urging both parties to “take the summer off” and telling them they’ll be summoned once there is a verdict in the case between Led Zeppelin and California band Spirit, who claim “Stairway to Heaven” plagiarized their 1968 song “Taurus.”
In 2016, Townshend claimed that Sheeran’s 2014 hit single “Thinking Out Loud” plagiarized portions of his and Gaye’s 1973 classic “Let’s Get It On.”
Back in January, Stanton rejected Sheeran’s request to dismiss the lawsuit, saying, “Although the two compositions are not identical, an average lay observer could conclude that parts of TOL were appropriated from LGO. Even applying the ‘more discerning’ analysis for works that have both protectable and unprotectable elements, the overlap of the protectable elements alone prevents a judgment of noninfringement as a matter of law.”