‘Bowie Bonds’ creator sues Ed Sheeran for copying Marvin Gaye hit

NEW YORK (Reuters) – English singer and songwriter Ed Sheeran was sued on Thursday for at the least $100 million for allegedly copying massive components of Marvin Gaye’s basic “Let’s Get It On” for his smash hit “Thinking Out Loud.”

FILE PHOTO: Ed Sheeran performs on the Brit Awards on the O2 Arena in London, Britain, February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Hannah McKay/File Photo

The lawsuit was filed by a company owned by David Pullman, an funding banker who in 1997 organized the pioneering $55 million sale of “Bowie Bonds,” which made David Bowie the primary musician to promote bonds backed by royalties from his catalog.

According to the criticism filed in Manhattan federal court docket, “Thinking Out Loud,” which peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in February 2015, copies the “melody, rhythms, harmonies, drums, bass line, backing chorus, tempo, syncopation and looping” of “Let’s Get It On,” which hit No. 1 in September 1973.

Other defendants embody Sony/ATV Music Publishing and the Atlantic report label.

Representatives for Sheeran and Atlantic didn’t instantly reply to requests for remark. Sony/ATV spokesman Paul Williams declined to remark.

Those defendants have denied any infringement in a associated lawsuit filed by heirs of the late producer Ed Townsend, who co-wrote “Let’s Get It On” with Gaye. Pullman’s company, Structured Asset Sales LLC, owns one-third of Townsend’s property.

Sheeran, 27, has confronted infringement claims over different songs, together with “Photograph” and “Shape of You.”

Gaye was fatally shot by his father in 1984 at age 44.

On March 21, a federal appeals court docket upheld a $5.three million judgment for Gaye’s household in opposition to Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams for copying from one other of his songs, 1977’s “Got to Give It Up,” for his or her 2013 smash “Blurred Lines.”

Pullman, 56, invests in music, leisure and different mental property property, and securitizes a few of them.

In an interview, Pullman stated folks interviewed for news protection about “Blurred Lines” famous similarities between “Let’s Get It On” and “Thinking Out Loud.”

He stated three musicologists in contrast the songs independently and found them “substantially or strikingly similar,” a authorized normal used to find out infringement.

“We wanted to do everything right in terms of the detail,” he stated.

Other recording artists to face copyright claims in recent times have included Miley Cyrus, Drake, Kendrick Lamar, Led Zeppelin and Madonna.

While many circumstances are settled or dismissed, Pullman stated artists shouldn’t wait till after their songs turn into hits to get mandatory permissions.

“It’s sort of ‘catch-me-if-you-can,’ after the fact,” he stated.

The case is Structured Asset Sales LLC v Sheeran et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 18-05839.

Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Tom Brown

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