Ed Sheeran Says He’s “Done” With Music If He Loses Copyright Infringement Suit Against Marvin Gaye

Photo credit: Drew de Fawkes / CC from 2.0

Ed Sheeran expressed the toll the Marvin Gaye copyright infringement case took on him, saying that if he lost, he would be “done” with the music.

British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran, who returned On Monday, he’s taking the stand again to testify before a Manhattan jury, saying he’ll “stop” the music if he’s found liable for the rip-off of Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On.”

Sheeran’s attorney, Ilene Farkas, asked him what would happen if the trial didn’t go his way if the plaintiffs were awarded ownership of the chord progression in his song “Thinking Out Loud.”

“When that happens, I’m done — I’m quitting,” Sheeran, 32, replied. “I find it really insulting to work as a singer-songwriter my entire life” only to see someone listen to one of his songs and then “denigrate it by saying I stole it.”

Last week, as the federal trial began, Sheeran’s attorney questioned him about his live performances and writing his song “Thinking Out Loud,” which he’s accused of copying portions of Marvin Gaye’s 1973 classic. But Sheeran has denied finding out anything about Gaye’s song.

During his testimony last week, Sheeran performed a snippet of Thinking Out Loud. On Monday, he strummed his guitar while singing various song mashups for the courtroom – including the four-chord sequence he allegedly copied from Gaye’s song. These included renditions of some Van Morrison songs, Elvis Presley’s version of “Can’t Help Falling in Love” and Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You” to demonstrate the spread of the chord progression in popular music.

Amy Wadge, Sheeran’s co-writer of “Thinking Out Loud,” told the judges she thought the song sounded more like Van Morrison’s “Have I Told You Lately” and that Marvin Gaye’s song never came to mind when writing Sheeran’s song came.

“After we wrote it and Ed started playing it (over) the phone, we both said it was a Van (Morrison) song,” Wadge said. “It felt like a Van Morrison song.”

Sheeran was visibly irritated when cross-examined by plaintiff’s attorney, Robert Frank, about his writing collaborations with other artists and the way he performs his music.

“Personally, I know what I’m playing on the guitar,” Sheeran said.

If the jury finds against Sheeran, a second trial will determine what damages are owed to plaintiff Kathryn Townsend Griffin and her family.