ED SHEERAN VS. MARVIN GAYE LAWSUIT: Let's Compare!

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bernardthedisappointedowl : Just wait for that hedgefund/dodgy lawyer to buy up the rights to the first recording of a 12 bar blues track - that will be the end of popular music, ^oo^

S4 Dreamland : Marvin's " family" have made more money on lawsuits than Marvin made in his career.. They must have a group of 500 people scanning radio stations around the world 24/7 looking for the odd note Marvin might have used in his songs .. They're relentless. RIP Marvin!!

Beary Boy : They're definetly not close enough to warrant a lawsuit

dolomuse : Excellent commentary Rick! The problem seems to be rooted in the fact that the word ‘arrangement’ has two fundamentally different musical meanings, and legally, the copyright distinction is being eroded by the equivocation of the two meanings. Song copyright covers the original arrangement (sequence of the musical notes/rhythm) of the melody in a song. In this limited context, an arranger can be liable for infringement by violating the composer’s exclusive right to prepare derivative works of his/her song. This blurring of the distinction seems to be a result of the continuing extension of copyright protection to samples (fragments; phrases; notes... or even silence a la Cage's 4'33") of a recorded 'arrangement', as a result of sound recording copyright infringement litigation (song/melodic sequence arrangement + stylistic arrangement). As arrangers, our work cannot be copyrighted. Yet, this case shows an attempt to extend the intellectual property meaning of ‘arrangement’ to also include ‘stylistic arrangements’ - creative instrumentation choices, backing grooves, stylistic clichés and embellishments (i.e. Phil Spector’s ‘wall of sound’ arranging style can’t be copyrighted). In this case, the absence of any copyright infringement of the melodic arrangement (sequence) is the salient distinction. I hope this case results in a new legal distinction between both meanings of 'arrangement' - one (melodic sequence) subject to copyright protection and the other (stylistic) not, since it is part of the musical language/vernacular and thus not the intellectual 'property' of an individual or corporation.

LM C : All cars have 4 wheels and a steering wheel... These are different songs with the same base... Stop with these stupid legal attacks...

Emmanuel Florac : Let someone copyright the famous "4 chords". Hilarity ensues. This is asinine.

Paul L. Rogers : Dear Marvin Gaye camp. Not everyone is stealing HIS music. Please stop the law suits. You are spoiling his memory. By the way, music follows certain patterns. Are you gonna sue every time someone has a similar pattern?

Casey 3-P-O : they are both great completely different songs in different keys. period. chord structure isn’t something u can own. that’s crazy.

MGTOW Videos : I copyrighted the word THE. In music. So please don’t use it. It will offend me since I take my writing seriously.

DISCO-INFERNO-70 : Sorry, but Sheeran's song sounds EXACTLY the same as Marvin's song. You can try and dissect technical aspects of the songs, but the ear test is pretty obvious. Whether or not you can lay claim to chord progressions is a stretch, but that's beyond my expertise.

A Shade of Gray : At the opening of this video dude looks exactly like Anthony Bourdain. Is it just me or doesn't he?

Aryo Taheri : And so, the trend of washed up musicians who have run out of money trying to take money from relevant artists through the abuse of copyright law continues. Good times.

HerrMeier007 : As a you Songwriter that is just starting out, the one thing this lawsuit teaches me is not to listen to Marvin Gaye anymore so I‘m not getting influenced by any of his chord progressions by accident 😅

DoctorBlankenstein : This is so bad for music... A horrible environment for creativity. It's really sad actually.

Jens Larsen : Such a slippery slope these law-suits. It's only a tool for rich companies to steal other rich companies money.

Mark Emerson : Sounds like ed put his own melody over the original song. Just saying

DetroitLives313 : He stole it......pay up!

Antonio Robbins : Rip off - peeps gotta start writing new stuff. It's too close. The only thing different is vocal melody which..... IS a lot BUT I have to admit even before hearing about this lawsuit - every time I heard ed's song, I always wanted to sing "let's get it on". So in essence - in my opinion - his melody wasn't strong enough to take out the build up and groove of the original which makes his less and less original.

Michael Moniz : At some point most pop chord progressions due to their almost universal ubiquity will have to be considered like the blues changes; just a canvass others can paint on. There's only 12 notes in the western scale and only so many sonically pleasing variations of their combinations..

Bald & Bearded : There's only so many chord progressions that can be made... and by transposing two different keys, there is even less different chord intervals progressions possible. Now transpose those few choices over different tempos... and of course anyone with a lot of time to waste and properly motivated to steal another artist's money will be able to find similarities. With the amount of songs coming out every day, it is inevitable that some will sound similar, no matter where the inspiration came from. I think that some "extinguished" artists or businesses are making a come back as legal leeches. I am a big Marvin Gaye fan, as I'm sure Ed Sheeran is. But this whole story is such a load of horse$h*t... can't believe they could win with this case..

Johnny Fiction : Is it a Ripoff? Yes, that's obvious. Is it lawsuit worthy? No.

Jonathan Brazee : One is sung by a man, one is sung by a boy.

S M : Sheeran = attempted “slight of hand” trick

MR. $p@cely : Anthony Bourdain needs to sue you for stealing his look.

andrewt248 : I am no fan of theft, but these lawsuits (and their clear ignorance of how music is written) are setting a dangerous precedent. There are only 12 notes and so many popularly acceptable rhythmic ways to arrange them. I think it should mostly be up to the free market to vote with their money for/against creative works.

Jeff Ali : I don't mean to say this as a negative towards Ed Sheeran at all but in the context of how I grew up using the word "rip off" he did sort of rip off Let's Get It On. Now, I'd like to explain. When me and my music friends say something is a rip off, we don't automatically mean to say it's an issue of copyright infringement, it's just the song is a bit too close to the original in feel or vibe, where it sounds derivative. Even if we love the new tune, we can admit when it's a "rip-off". So, it's not really meant as a total put-down. It's only a put down if the new song isn't good. Of course that's subjective and another story altogether. So, my verdict is the song is not infringing on the copyright at all. Unless the bass part is something unique and melodic in an off itself it should not even be considered in weighing whether this is a case of copyright infringement. Same goes for the chord progression. So what are we left with? We have a melody. Listen to just the melody of each and you'd be hard pressed to hear any similarities. Sure, you could do a mashup of the two and make them fit but they are not the same. I feel bad for Ed having to deal with this. I am also concerned that this will lead to many more lawsuits. I may have mentioned this in my commend on FB, as a composer I try to come up with unique chord progressions, and its one of the tools that helps me create melodies that I think are unique. It doesn't mean I don't use common progressions as well, it's just how I developed as an artist from when I first started writing music. Do I think others needs to do this, absolutely not. If you can come up with an original and catchy melody based on a 145 progression and craft a great tune using only a few chords, that's awesome. I always think about VH's Aint Talkin Bout Love, how the whole song except the ending is just 2 chords. Same chords for verse, chorus, solo etc.. and it works. I want to see this verdict get overturned by appeal.

Constantin Philippou : To my ears, both of the verses sounded 95% the same, to say the least...

Anonymous : Adam brought me here.

RayEttler : WAAAY too close to be just coincidence

feroui hamza : at this point anyone who plays in 4/4 will be sued by someone

Ajax : It's just too similar.

williemo44 : Ripped off marvin man.

Antonios Vasilellis Neto : For whoever is defending Ed Sheeran, I agree that the melodies are completely different and the songs are not the same. However, being that the backing for most of 'Thinking Out Loud' is EXACTLY the same as 'Let's Get It On' there should be some credit going to Gaye's estate. I don't think Ed copied the song; I think he intentionally sampled the oldie but had to credit it. Marvin Gaye should not get full credit for the song, but definitely sampling royalties.

G! Force : TOTAL RIPOFF!

outlawrickenbacker : Can't copyright a chord progression, and the melodies are not the same.  I think Ed is gonna be OK.

Jim : It's a blatant ripoff. Pay up Ed.

greatertorque : Yes, it is a rip-off!!

Chris Wojo : Yes. It is a complete ripoff.

Charles T. : Also, the Marvin Gaye original is still better then Ed’s blatantly copied version... the sad part is Ed is pretending that he didn’t steal this from marvin.....

Saxoprane : You cannot copyright a tempo You cannot copyright a rhythm You cannot copyright a chord progression

Philly Band : I assumed Ed sampled Marvin Gaye this whole time. Is he claiming he didn’t?? Give me a break. It’s a blatant rip off if that’s the case.

jerry abbott : It's a tricky one..... I think there's actually a better case for this than the blurred lines ones. Yes,Thinking out loud is a different song and no,you can't copyright a chord sequence but the trouble comes when,not only is the chord sequence virtually the same but the groove is identical too. If it was just one then fine,it's not a problem but when you have more than one element that's the same that's where problems arise. If Ed sheeran kept the same chords but with a completely different groove then no-one would be having this conversation

DJ Illinois : I don't understand how some people can't see its literally the same instrumental piece the exact same. Take out the lyrics and it the EXACT same song.

Gerald O'Hare : Stolen, stolen, stolen......

Waselt : So we have 4/4 signature 4 chords Ride ride snare ride groove Same generic pop tempo I wonder where have I seen this? Oh yeah in every fucking pop song that’s out on the market. It’s not like they’ve written a musical masterpiece with constant time signature changes and different chords every two bars.

Charles T. : If Marvin Gaye never wrote let’s get it on, then Ed Sheran would NEVER have come up with this song.... obviously Ed stole it and Ed knows that he did... I knew it the very first time I heard Ed’s song.... kind of like the first time I heard robin thicke blurred lines....

elbentzo : Rick, great video as usual. Interesting, intelligent and always very pleasant. I do disagree with you on some things, though. No question that some parts of the songs are nothing alike, but regarding the verse... Yes, the lyrics are different, but that's meaningless. I mean, if someone took Queen's "Love of My Life" and rewrote the lyrics to be about aliens and space travel, would that no longer be a rip off? I think the lyrics - while important and vital to creating an emotional connection - are not enough to distinguish two pieces of music. That's why we refer to it as music (with lyrics) and not poems (with a melody). And regarding the rhythm of the melodies, the human ear is much less sensitive to these things than sheet music is. Or should I say, our ability to find patterns and make small adjustments in our heads is much stronger than the similarities of putting two pages next to each other. If you listen to live versions of a song, for example, you know that 99% of the time the rhythm of the melody will be slightly different. Accents will be put in different places, notes will be extended or cut short. Staccato becomes vibrato, etc. But you would still recognize it as the same song. The fact that a triplet became a sixteenth-eighth-sixteenth wouldn't matter in the slightest. I don't claim to have a clear cut definition of what makes two melodies similar, but to my ears, even though the rhythms are different, the verse melodies are definitely in the same ballpark. Add to that the near-identical rhythm track (on which you expanded in your video), and I do believe that the verse qualifies as a rip off. Unintentional, maybe, I wouldn't know. But still, VERY similar.

David : Ed better pay up... Pop music needs to stop this rehashing of music, producers, lyrical content and so on... FFS its called originality?

MAQ STUNNA : Plagiarism

Jason Bone : Just a heads up, I have copyright on 130 BPM.