On Tuesday (16 May), the same judge who presided over the pop singer’s latest win, US District Judge Louis Stanton, reversed his original ruling that the suit filed against Sheeran by Structured Asset Sales LLC over his 2014 song “Thinking Out Loud” deserved to be heard by a jury.
“It is an unassailable reality that the chord progression and harmonic rhythm in ‘Let’s Get It On’ are so commonplace, in isolation and in combination, that to protect their combination would give ‘Let’s Get It On’ an impermissible monopoly over a basic musical building block,” Stanton wrote in a statement.
Structured Asset Sales had accused Sheeran’s 2014 single of infringing on the copyright of Gaye’s 1973 anthem “Let’s Get It On”.
The company co-owns part of the song with the late songwriter Ed Townsend, whose heirs lost to Sherean in a similar lawsuit weeks prior.
Meanwhile, Structured Asset Sales has another lawsuit against the Grammy-winning artist’s song still pending.
Rather than contesting the two songs’ composition similarities, as had been done in the Townsend heirs’ trial, the company’s owner, investment banker David Pullman, is looking to compare the songs’ recordings in this third lawsuit.
“Their biggest fear, in terms of everything they’ve filed, has been to prevent the sound recording from coming in,” Pullman said in his argument to have “Thinking Out Loud” and “Let’s Get It On” played side by side in court.
Pullman filed his lawsuit five years ago after Townsend’s heirs had separately filed theirs in 2017.
Following his win earlier this month, Sheeran celebrated the victory in a defiant statement saying he would not “allow myself to be a piggy bank”.
“I’m just a guy with a guitar who loves writing music for people to enjoy,” he said. Read his statement in full here.