Ed Sheeran is set to face a jury in New York over a copyright infringement case about his 2014 song “Thinking Out Loud.”
The British singer was sued by Structured Asset Sales, which owns a stake in the copyrights of songwriter Ed Townsend, in 2018 over a claim that he copied Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On,” which Townsend co-wrote with “Thinking Out Loud.”
Sheeran and his legal team tried to have the lawsuit dismissed by arguing that the elements he is accused of copying are “commonplace and unprotectable.”
However, Judge Louis Stanton declined to do so on Thursday and ruled that the case should be decided by a jury at a Manhattan federal courthouse. A date was not set.
“There is no bright-line rule that the combination of two unprotectable elements is insufficiently numerous to constitute an original work,” the judge wrote about Sheeran’s argument for dismissal.
“A work may be copyrightable even though it is entirely a compilation of unprotectable elements.”
An attorney for Structured Asset Sales, Hillel Parness, told Reuters the company was “pleased” with the decision, while Sheeran has yet to comment.
The news comes months after Sheeran went on trial in the U.K. accused of copying Sami Chokri’s 2015 song “Oh Why” with his 2017 single “Shape of You.”
After he won the case in April, he said on Instagram, “I hope with this ruling, it means in the future baseless claims like this can be avoided. This really does have to end… Hopefully, we can all get back to writing songs rather than having to prove that we can write them.”
Gaye’s music has been involved in copyright lawsuits before. His heirs successfully took Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams to trial over claims their song “Blurred Lines” infringed on Gaye’s “Got to Give It Up” in 2015.
They are not involved in the current legal action.
However, Billboard reports that several of Townsend’s other heirs have filed a separate case against Sheeran over their stake.