The lawsuit claimed that the singer's 'Thinking Out Loud' copied Marvin Gaye's 'Let's Get It On.'
A verdict has been reached in Ed Sheeran's copyright trial. On Thursday, a New York City jury found that the 32-year-old singer did not copy Marvin Gaye's 1973 hit, "Let's Get It On," on his 2014 song, "Thinking Out Loud."
"Ed seemed very pleased with the verdict and gave everyone on his legal team a big hug," an eyewitness at the courthouse tells ET. "After he hugged his team, he then chatted with Kathy Townsend and hugged her as well."
After the verdict was reached, Sheeran publicly released a statement about his win and the case as a whole.
"I am obviously very happy with the outcome of the case, and it looks like I'm not going to have to retire from my day job after all -- but, at the same time, I am unbelievably frustrated that baseless claims like this are allowed to go to court at all," Sheeran's statement read. "We have spent the last eight years talking about two songs with dramatically different lyrics, melodies and four chords which are also different and used by songwriters every day, all over the world. These chords are common building blocks which were used to create music long before 'Let's Get It On' was written and will be used to make music long after we are all gone. They are a songwriter's 'alphabet', our tool kit and should be there for us all to use. No-one owns them, or the way they are played, in the same way, nobody owns the color blue."
"Unfortunately, unfounded claims like this one are being fueled by individuals who are offered as experts in musical analysis," the statement continued. "In this instance, the other side's musicologist left out words and notes, presented simple (and different) pitches as melody, creating misleading comparisons and disinformation to find supposed similarities where none exist. They tried to manipulate my and [my co-writer] Amy [Wadge]'s song to try to convince the jury that they had a genuine claim, and I am very grateful that the jury saw through those attempts."
Sheeran noted that the whole thing "seems so dangerous to me, both for potential claimants who may be convinced to bring a bogus claim, as well as those songwriters facing them," adding that "it is simply wrong."
"By stopping this practice, we can also properly support genuine music copyright claims so that legitimate claims are rightly heard and resolved," the statement added.
Sheeran continued by noting that "if the jury had decided this matter the other way, we might as well say goodbye to the creative freedom of songwriters."
"We need to be able to write our original music and engage in independent creation without worrying at every step of the way that such creativity will be wrongly called into question," the statement read. "Like artists everywhere, Amy and I work hard to independently create songs which are often based around real-life, personal experiences. It is devastating and also insulting to be accused of stealing other people's songs when we have put so much work into our livelihoods."
Sheeran noted that he's "just a guy with a guitar who loves writing music for people to enjoy" and said that he "will never allow myself to be a piggy bank for anyone to shake."
"Having to be in New York for this trial has meant that I have missed being with my family at my grandmother's funeral in Ireland. I won't get that time back," he noted. "These trials take a significant toll on everybody involved, including Kathryn Townsend Griffin."
Sheeran continued by thanking the jury "for making a decision that will help to protect the creative process of songwriters here in the United States and around the world." He additionally gave his thanks to his "team who has supported me throughout this difficult process and to all the songwriters, musicians and fans who reached out with messages of support over the last few weeks."
Sheeran then thanked Wadge, noting, "Neither of us ever expected that nine years on from our wonderful writing session that we would be here having to defend our integrity. Amy, I feel so lucky to have you in my life."
"We need songwriters and the wider musical community to come together to bring back common sense," he concluded. "These claims need to be stopped so that the creative process can carry on, and we can all just go back to making music. At the same time, we absolutely need trusted individuals, real experts who help support the process of protecting copyright. Thank you."
The decision came one day after lawyers delivered their closing arguments. During Ilene Farkas' closing statement, the lawyer, who represented Sheeran in the trial, focused on independent creation, common elements, and combination of elements.
Meanwhile, in plaintiff attorney Keisha Rice's closing statement, she claimed that Sheeran was trying to use his celebrity to overpower the jury. Additionally, she alleged that Sheeran saying on the stand that he'd quit music if he were to lose the case was a threat that he used in hopes of influencing the jury.
Rice is representing heirs of Gaye's "Let's Get It On" co-writer, Ed Townsend, who sued the singer and his record label in 2017.The week-long trial made headlines several times, most notably when Sheeran revealed on the stand that he cannot read music, despite having written hit songs for himself, Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber and more.
Ahead of the verdict, Sheeran sat down for an interview with Zane Lowe on Apple Music 1, and reflected on the case.
"There's something very freeing about just being honest. What's the worst thing that can happen? This is the thing, even with the lawsuit stuff. When people are like, 'Don't talk about it, don't talk about it,' I'm like, 'Why? What do you think my opinion is? This is my opinion,'" he said. "Obviously, I'm f**king fighting it."
"I think artists, we're expected to [have] this sheen and this perfect thing and never have struggle," Sheeran added. "'Why would you ever have struggles? You are not a human being.' It's a thing that's expected, and it's a thing that I've played into over the last 13 years of my career, of just being like, keep calm and shut up, and just get on stage, sing the songs."
During the interview, Sheeran also said that he would "never" pursue litigation if he was on the other side of a case.
"I would just never do it. I'd just never do it. I feel like if people felt that they had would come to me... and I've cleared songs for people that have come," he said. "... The thing with these cases, it's not usually songwriters that are suing songwriters... I feel like in the songwriting community, everyone sort of knows that there's four chords primarily that are used and there's eight notes. We work with what we've got, with doing that."
Watch the video below to see more from Sheeran's trial.