Heirs of the composer for Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On" sued British musician Ed Sheeran on Tuesday, claiming his hit song "Thinking Out Loud" copies core elements of the late soul singer's 1973 track.
The copyright infringement lawsuit was filed by the heirs of Ed Townsend, who co-wrote the lyrics to "Let's Get It On" in 1973 and created its musical composition, according to the complaint filedin federal court in the Southern District of New York.
Representatives for defendants Sheeran, Sony/ATV Music Publishing, and Atlantic Records did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Music industry to ban songwriting because all variations of the 12 notes have now been written (a million times).https://t.co/CRRrOPws2d
— Dave Loughran (@DaveLoughran) August 10, 2016
The lawsuit, which asks for damages to be assessed at a jury trial, argues that the harmonic progressions, melodic and rhythmic elements central to "Let's Get It On" formed the structure of Sheeran's "Thinking Out Loud."
"The Defendants copied the 'heart' of 'Let's' and repeated it continuously throughout 'Thinking,'" the lawsuit said. "The melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic compositions of 'Thinking' are substantially and/or strikingly similar to the drum composition of 'Let's.'"
Sheeran's fans showed support for the popular singer on social media:
why does no one have anything better to do than claim ed sheeran stole the beat for their song? he CLEARLY doesn't need to steal anything.
— bree (@hoodiexsheeran) August 10, 2016
Are you kidding me?
Another lawsuit for Ed Sheeran
These days people can't make music inspired by their favourite artists...
— Theresa L. (@MissTeeheeToYou) August 10, 2016
This whole Ed Sheeran ripping off Marvin Gaye thing is ridiculous
— Luke Robinson (@LukeRoinson) August 10, 2016
But some were not amused:
You too, Ed Sheeran? https://t.co/q7Jl9J55h8
— Craig (@ThaCRAIGGLEZ) August 10, 2016
I always hated Ed Sheeran's song "Thinking Out Loud" because it was so obvious that he took from Marvin Gaye. A lawsuit is well deserved.
— RomeTatum (@DarkJamesDean) August 10, 2016
Grammy Award-winning Sheeran has become one of Britain's top-selling artists in the past two years, and has written and co-written tracks for artists such as One Direction, Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber.
The lawsuit came two months after California-based musicians sued Sheeran for $20 million over his hit song "Photograph" in an unrelated case.
Gaye's family last year successfully sued R&B recording artists Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams for copyright infringement in another unrelated case over their hit single "Blurred Lines," winning a $7.4 million judgment.