In 2016, after Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke lost the “Blurred Lines” lawsuit (for the first time), more than 200 recording artists banded together in support of Williams and Thicke because of the slippery slope the original verdict created. Essentially, they argued that forcing artists to pay massive amounts of royalties to other artists who had clearly influenced them—even if there was no direct copying in a song itself—would “stifle creativity and impede the creative process.” The appeals court upheld the original verdict, though, with the dissenting judge noting that Marvin Gaye’s family had managed to both “copyright a musical style” and opened the door for similar legal battles.
Well, it looks like she was right, because lawsuit magnet Ed Sheeran is now being sued for copyright infringement for the third time since 2016. According to Variety, he’s being sued for $100 million in damages for allegedly ripping off “Let’s Get It On” by—of course—Marvin Gaye. The suit accuses him and co-writer Amy Wadge of having “copied and exploited” the Gaye song for Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud,” including “the melody, rhythms, harmonies, drums, bass line, backing chorus, tempo, syncopation, and looping.”
However, this one has a fun twist: Marvin Gaye’s family isn’t even involved. This suit is coming from an investment banker named David Pullman (the guy behind Bowie Bonds, an investment scheme to make money off of David Bowie albums) and a company called Structured Asset Sales, which now controls a third of the rights to “Let’s Get It On.” This isn’t like the “Blurred Lines” case, where the family believed that Thicke and Williams had ripped them off, it’s a guy who is trying to make sure his investment is worth as much money as possible.