When a person or company makes a creative work or other original idea, steps are often taken to protect that information or work. In many cases, such as with musicians, creative works become well known to the public, and without copyright protections, almost anyone could potentially take elements of a song and plagiarize them without repercussion. However, when someone infringes on a copyright, intellectual property litigation could ensue.
It was recently reported that a lawsuit is currently taking place in New York involving musician Ed Sheeran and the estate of Ed Townsend, who co-wrote the Marvin Gaye hit "Let's Get It On." In the suit, the estate claims that Sheeran plagiarized musical elements, like the bass line and overall harmonic rhythm, from "Let's Get It On" in his song "Thinking Out Loud." It was noted that a video exists of Sheeran easily switching between the two songs during a performance.
Sheeran reportedly requested for the judge to dismiss the case, but that request was denied. The judge stated that a jury would decide whether the disputed elements of the Gaye hit are too common to be covered by the copyright protection. The somber and melancholic tones of "Thinking Out Loud" were cited by the defense as differences between the two songs.
Intellectual property litigation can be difficult to endure, but in order to uphold copyright protections, it may be a necessary step to take. If copyright holders in New York feel that their protections have been violated, they may wish to consider their legal options. Working with experienced attorneys who understand copyright and intellectual property law may help interested parties find the most viable options for addressing their cases.