The Ed Sheeran "Thinking Out Loud" Scandal Is Reaching a Breaking Point

Emma Saletta - Author

Apr. 29 2023, Published 1:45 p.m. ET

After legal action was brought against Ed Sheeran regarding his song "Thinking Out Loud" in 2017, the singer finally had his day in court to address the scandal that has since shined a new light on Ed's 2014 hit.

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The lawsuit was originally filed by the heirs of Ed Townsend's estate, who allege that Sheeran copied an ascending four-chord sequence, and its rhythm from the classic Marvin Gaye hit song "Let's Get It On". It was co-written by Ed and Marvin, and released in 1973, becoming one of Marvin's most popular hits.

Here's everything we know about the history of the Ed Sheeran "Thinking Out Loud" scandal.

The trial, which began on April 24, 2023, was a long time coming due to the history of the scandal. Ed was first sued for the release and commercial exploitation of "Thinking Out Loud", which was later dismissed.

However, the heirs came back swinging regarding the musical connection between his song and "Let's Get It On," which stuck.

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Despite the lawsuit being filed in 2017, the case faced several setbacks since it was first filed, including motions of dismissal, COVID-19, and recently, a new batch of jurors being selected after the previous few were exposed as being fans of the British singer, thus putting the integrity of the jury in jeopardy.

The trial finally got underway in April 2023 in Manhattan.

What has Ed Sheeran said so far in the trial regarding the "Thinking Out Loud" scandal?

Ed had no problem discussing the matter in court, and like the heirs of the Ed Townsend estate, he came in swinging.

“The two songs share versions of a similar and unprotectable chord progression that was freely available to all songwriters,” Ed said in a filing. “If I had done what you’re accusing me of doing, I would have to be quite an idiot to stand on a stage in front of 20,000 people.”

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The artist also sang and played guitar on the stand, giving jurors a bit of a concert while playing the basic chord progression. He did not perform the song entirely.

Ed Sheeran's "Thinking Out Loud" lawsuit isn't his only scandal.

Ed Sheeran at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony in L.A. on November 05, 2022.
Source: Getty Images

Although this latest scandal has been going on for a few years, Ed has been involved in several songwriting scandals, the first being between him and X-Factor UK winner Matt Cardle in 2016 and involving the song "Photograph".

Despite the settlement, Ed said back in 2022 that he has since regretted it. The settlement opened “the floodgates” for more lawsuits.

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As such, Ed was soon also sued by songwriters Chokri and Ross O’Donoghue, who alleged that "Shape of You" includes several similarities to their single "Oh Why".

Despite this, a UK High Court ruled that Sheeran had “neither deliberately nor subconsciously copied” Chokri’s work, making Ed the winner of that copyright lawsuit.

And now of course, we'll be watching to see how this latest lawsuit plays out for Ed — and the fate of the earworm tune that has become part of our pop culture, "Thinking Out Loud".

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