Ed Sheeran testifies in 'Thinking Out Loud' jury trial

The heirs of Marvin Gaye's 'Let's Get It On' co-writer sued Ed Sheeran over his song 'Thinking Out Loud'

Ed Sheeran took the stand in court Tuesday during his copyright infringement trial.

Sheeran is accused of using Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On" to create his hit song "Thinking Out Loud." Lawyers for the heirs of Marvin Gaye's co-writer claimed to have a "smoking gun" during Tuesday's hearing.

The singer was adamant he had come up with the song himself, sparring at times with the plaintiff’s attorney, Keisha Rice, on the subject of "independent creation."

Attorney Ben Crump, representing heirs of Gaye's co-writer Ed Townsend, explained that Sheeran combined the songs during a concert at one point. He said merging the song was tantamount to "a confession."


Ed Sheeran

Ed Sheeran arrives at court Tuesday. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig / AP Images)

"We have a smoking gun," Crump said of the concert footage showing Sheeran flipping between the two songs.

Crump said the case was about "giving credit where credit is due."

Ed Sheeran arrives at court

The musician has been accused of copyright infringement. (AP Photo/Brittainy Newman / AP Images)

When footage of the concert was played, showing Sheeran transitioning from one song to the next, he stated that it is common for performers to incorporate other artists' songs during their performances. 

The "Bad Habits" singer said that it's "quite simple to weave in and out of songs" that are played on the same tune.

Addressing the accusation that he copied songs, Sheeran said, "I’d be an idiot to stand on a stage in front of 20,000 people and do that."

Lawyers for Sheeran have maintained his song only uses foundational elements of pop music.

"The two songs share versions of a similar and unprotectable chord progression that was freely available to all songwriters," the lawyers said in a court filing.

Ed Sheeran is facing a lawsuit

Ed Sheeran wore a dark suit and a blue tie for the occasion. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig / AP Images)

While Sheeran was on the stand Tuesday, he glanced at his lawyer, Ilene Farkas, while she insisted he and co-writer Amy Wadge came up with their song independently.

Farkas argued the duo "created this heartfelt song without copying ‘Let’s Get It On.’"

The heirs of Gaye's co-writer claimed Sheeran's song has "striking similarities" and "overt common elements" that amount to copyright infringement.

"Let's Get It On" is the quintessential, sexy slow jam that's been heard in countless films and commercials and garnered hundreds of millions of streams, spins and radio plays over the past 50 years. "Thinking Out Loud," which won a Grammy for song of the year, is a much more marital take on love and sex.

Ed Sheeran at court

The trial is expected to last two weeks. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig / AP Images)

Jurors are supposed to only consider the raw elements of melody, harmony and rhythm that make up the composition of "Let’s Get It On," as documented on sheet music filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.


The trial began Monday with jury selection. Four women and three men are serving as the jury. Since this is a bifurcated trial, if the jurors find in favor of Sheeran, the case is over. If the jurors find in favor of plaintiffs, a trial on damages will begin immediately after the verdict with the same jurors.

Ed Sheeran on the radio

Ed Sheeran has been accused of copying Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On" for his hit song "Thinking Out Loud." (Getty Images / Getty Images)

It's anticipated that the trial will last two weeks in Manhattan, and Sheeran is expected to testify in the case.

This isn't Sheeran's first time in the courtroom regarding his music. He previously won a lawsuit in the U.K. in 2017 that involved his song "Shape of You." The musician criticized the lawsuit following the verdict.

"I feel like claims like this are way too common now and have become a culture where a claim is made with the idea that a settlement will be cheaper than taking it to court, even if there is no basis for the claim," Sheeran said in a video posted on Twitter at the time. "It’s really damaging to the songwriting industry."

Ed Sheeran performs

Ed Sheeran previously won a lawsuit in 2017 regarding his hit "Shape of You." (Getty Images / Getty Images)


Fox News' Marta Dhanis and The Associated Press contributed to this report.