Ed Sheeran is to stand trial in his $100 million copyright case.
On Thursday, a Manhattan federal judge cleared the way for further legal action against the singer-songwriter, 31, who is accused of lifting elements from Marvin Gaye’s 1973 classic “Let’s Get It On” to write his own 2014 hit, “Thinking Out Loud.”
Judge Louis Stanton said there was “no bright-line rule,” and that a jury trial would be needed to resolve the issue, according to reports.
“There is no bright-line rule that the combination of two unprotectable elements is insufficiently numerous to constitute an original work,” the judge wrote. “A work may be copyrightable even though it is entirely a compilation of unprotectable elements.”
A date for the trial has not yet been set, per the publication.
The issue between Sheeran and the estate of the song’s late co-writer, Ed Townsend, first originated in 2016.
That year, Sheeran was sued by Townsend’s family, but the case was ultimately dismissed the following year.
After the Townsend family sold a third of their shares in “Let’s Get It On” to Structured Asset Sales, the organization relaunched the suit in 2018 for a reported $100 million.
Structured Asset Sales claims the monster single from Sheeran’s X album uses melodic, harmonic, rhythmic, instrumental and dynamic elements taken from Gaye’s song.
It’s not the first time Sheeran has been hit with claims of copying another artist’s music.
In June, months after winning his plagiarism lawsuit over the hit song “Shape of You,” Ed Sheeran was awarded more than $1 million in legal costs.
Sheeran and his two co-writers, Steve McCutcheon and Snow Patrol’s Johnny McDaid, had been locked in a legal battle for years with Sami Chokri and Ross O’Donoghue, a pair of songwriters who claimed that the 2017 mega-hit ripped off their track “Oh Why.”
David Pullman, the owner of Structured Asset Sales, said after Thursday’s ruling that he was “pleased” that the case will go to a jury, and that he “looks forward to more success in this case which involves the largest copyright infringement in history,” according to Billboard.