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The judge determines that Ed Sheeran must face a copyright trial for Thinking Out Loud.

Ed Sheeran has been ordered to stand trial in the United States over allegations that he plagiarised Marvin Gaye’s Let’s Get It On for his famous song Thinking Out Loud.

A judge refused Sheeran’s request to dismiss the case, stating that a jury must determine the similarities between the songs.

This decision comes six months after Sheeran was absolved of duplicating his popular song Shape Of You in a London courtroom.

After this decision, the singer criticized “frivolous” copyright claims, which he described as “all too common.”

The claim over Thinking Out Loud was filed in 2018 by investment banker David Pullman and a business named Structured Asset Sales, which has purchased a share of the estate of Let’s Get It On co-writer Ed Townsend.

The judge determines that Ed Sheeran must face a copyright trial for Thinking Out Loud.

They claim that Sheeran and his co-writer Amy Wadge “copied and exploited” the Gaye song without permission or credit, “including but not limited to the melody, rhythms, harmonies, percussion, bass line, backing chorus, pace, syncopation, and looping.”

US District Judge Louis Stanton cited a dispute by musical experts on both sides of the complaint as the reason for setting the trial on Thursday.

Sheeran will not embrace the possibility of a trial by jury. Copyright attorneys have frequently argued that jurors struggle to comprehend the complexity of copyright law and why surface similarities between two songs are not necessarily indicative of plagiarism.

In his order, Judge Stanton also ordered that jurors must evaluate if SAS can include concert earnings in damages, dismissing Sheeran’s contention that ticket sales were unrelated to the claimed infringement.

According to the music industry newspaper Pollstar, Sheeran’s 2014-2015 tour grossed $150m (£135m).

His attorneys declined to comment on the judge’s decision. Hillel Parness, an attorney for Structured Asset Sales, told Reuters that the corporation was “pleased” with the verdict.

This is not the only trial Sheeran is facing about Thinking Out Loud, which topped the UK charts in 2014 and received the Grammy Award for song of the year in 2016.

A secondary complaint filed by another component of Townsend’s estate is still awaiting trial, while SAS has filed a second suit, which is currently on hold.

“Coincidence is inevitable”

At the March trial for Shape of You, the singer and his co-writers John McDaid and Steven McCutcheon were accused of stealing a hook from Oh Why, a 2015 song by Sami Chokri and Ross O’Donoghue.

However, a High Court judge decided that they had “neither intentionally nor unintentionally” plagiarised the earlier song and awarded the celebrity and his co-defendants £900,000 in legal fees.

Sheeran afterward said on Instagram: “I hope that this verdict will prevent future frivolous charges of this nature. This must come to an end.”

He added: “It hurts the songwriting industry. In pop music, there are only a limited number of notes and chords. If every day on Spotify 60,000 songs are released, coincidence is inevitable. That’s 22 million songs per year, and there are only 12 accessible notes.”

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