Ed Sheeran on trial: Does “Thinking Out Loud” violate the copyright of Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On"?

Originally published at: Ed Sheeran on trial: Does "Thinking Out Loud" violate the copyright of Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On"? | Boing Boing


Beato posted a new video on this lawsuit yesterday that’s well worth watching.

What I wonder is what AI is going to do to all of this. I suspect there’s going to be some significant legal action in this area over the next few years.


Desi Lydic (this week’s Daily Show host)‘s take was that Elvis’ estate should sue Sheeran, for appropriating the idea of stealing black musicians’ music. Also, that Sheeran should get the trial moved to Florida, where they don’t say Gaye.


Desi Lydic (this week’s Daily Show host)‘s take was that Elvis ’ estate should sue Sheeran

On that topic, she’s been a surprisingly great host. I mean, the other hosts probably lost their minds that this week, of all weeks, is when Tucker got tossed, but I never saw her as a contender for the desk but she’s really engaging.

What I wonder is what AI is going to do to all of this.

You have to assume it will be interesting new legal areas on what constitutes fair use. AI, at this point in our timeline, doesn’t make anything really new. It takes information and twists it into a slightly modified configuration. It’ is, by very definition, derivative.

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This article says the Blurred Lines decision might no longer be influential. “As Christine Lepera, a lawyer for Katy Perry in a recent copyright suit, put it: ‘The ‘Blurred Lines’ curse — its chilling effect — has been lifted.’”

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The Katy Perry, Blurred Lines, and Stairway lawsuits were all in the 9th Circuit (California). The Ed Sheeran lawsuit is in the Southern District of New York (part of the 2nd Circuit). The holdings from the 9th Circuit decisions aren’t binding on this case. They could influence the judge on any questions of law that come up, but you can’t really count on the logic from those cases being applied here. Until the Supreme Court takes a case like this, each District is free to apply their own standards.

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Betteridge’s law as well as common sense (after having listened to them) says no.

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That rhythm in the back is identical. This feels like Vanilla Ice instead of Blurred Lines.

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Great explanation by Mr Beato.

Can a rhythm or a chord progression be copyright? Aren’t they fundamental building blocks of music, like words are building blocks of language?

As for “groove”, which I take to be style, I sometimes write stories in the style of other authors, such as PG Wodehouse, HP Lovecraft and Barbara Cartland, for fun and creative challenge. Am I violating those authors’ copyright?

Sued by “Structured Asset Sales”? Sounds a bit like the patent trollies.

Whatever happened to variations on a theme by ?

ETA: How did that word end up in my first line? I did not write “trollies”.

The author has posted a lot on this case. I suspect that the case will come down to whether the jury is able to learn enough during the trial to properly apply the harmonic style of eighteenth century european musicians.

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I just saw that video and was coming here to post it. Adam Neely is fantastic. He also references another of his videos in that one that’s also well worth watching and is relevant to the bigger issues involved here.

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