Ed Sheeran defended himself as Thinking Out Loud/Let’s Get It On medley was played as a proof in court amid the copyright case trial.
Sheeran took the witness stand to testify amid the trial in a federal courtroom in Manhattan on Tuesday, defending himself against claims that he plagiarized the classic Let’s Get It On by Marvin Gaye for his own song, Thinking Out Loud.
The Shape of You hitmaker was defending himself against the heirs of a co-writer of the song.
A video of Sheeran made by a fan, in which the singer was fusing the two songs live in 2014, was one piece of evidence that the judge had left hanging in previous hearings.
After initial uncertainty whether to allow the medley, U.S. District Judge Louis Stanton finally decided on Tuesday to play the 30-seconds clip, despite Sheeran’s attorneys’ argument that it was “irrelevant and prejudicial.”
While, Ben Crump and Keisha Rice, who are representing the heirs of Ed Townsend, Gaye’s credited co-writer on Let’s Get It On branded the video as “a smoking gun” and “a confession” in an opening statement and subsequent examination of Sheeran.
As reported by Reuters, Sheeran defended himself saying “I mash up songs at lots of gigs. Many songs have similar chords. You can go from ‘Let It Be’ to ‘No Woman No Cry’ and switch back. And quite frankly, if I’d done what you’re accusing me of doing, I’d be quite an idiot to stand on a stage in front of 20,000 people and do that.”
In addition to that Sheeran also made everyone in the courtroom laugh, according to NBC News, by claiming that he had not heard Let’s Get It On until it appeared in the 1999 Austin Powers movie.
The singer also revealed that Thinking Out Loud reminded his associates of Van Morrison.
According to Sheeran’s testimony, Morrison, in a hotel meeting told Sheeran that he “liked” the singer’s tune of the song, instead of threatening him to sue.
The news agency also reported that, before the video medley was played, the judge told the seven jury members, “We don’t allow dancing”, which did not elaborate on whether the comment was in jest or serious.
Sheeran’s attorney, Ilene Farkas, explained in an opening statement that Sheeran and co-writer Amy Wadge had written a song that used “exceedingly common musical building blocks… Plaintiffs do not own them, because nobody does. All songwriters draw from this same basic toolkit.”
The daughter of plaintiff Kathryn Townsend Griffin, Ed Townsend, testified prior Sheeran and noted that she was not a “copyright troll,” suggesting that attempts at a settlement had been rebuffed.
“I want you to know that it did not have to come to this,” said Griffin. “But I had to protect my father’s legacy.”
Sheeran will be testifying once more as the trial continues to proceed.