A New York Judge has postponed the copyright infringement trial against Ed Sheehan over his song “Thinking Out Loud” until next Spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The British singer has been entangled in a lawsuit brought by the heirs of Ed Townsend, the co-writer of the lyrics of “Lets Get It On” since 2017 when they sued him for copyright infringement. Townsend’s heirs claim that Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud” song copied the “heart” of Gaye and Townsend’s iconic song.
Townsend co-wrote “Let’s Get It On” with Marvin Gaye in 1973. The song contains a recognizable harmonic, melodic, and rhythmic elements that made it “one of the most famous songs in R&B and soul music history,” according to the complaint. That distinctive “heart” of the song, Townsend heirs alleged, has been copied and “repeated continuously throughout Thinking.”
“At present there is no prospect of certainty that the trial will go forward as scheduled,” Federal Judge Louis Stanton said in his ruling Oct. 15 on postponing the case. “On the other hand, it seems reasonable to expect that the conditions will have improved by next Spring.”
Sheeran was unsuccessful in his earlier attempts to dismiss the lawsuit when Stanton ruled that there was enough evidence to present to a jury to let them decide on the case.
Townsend heirs are seeking damages as well as attorneys fees.