Heard It Before? Singer Ed Sheeran Faces Intellectual Property Disputes

by: The Knowledge Group

September 03, 2019


Hit singer Ed Sheeran has enjoyed the highest-grossing music tour in history, with 9 million people buying concert tickets to the tune of $736.7 million. Which may come in handy as Sheeran faces a $100 million intellectual property lawsuit.

Ironically, the singer dubbed this lucrative performance series the Divide Tour. 

Allegedly, one of the 29-year-old singer’s works borrows too much from Marvin Gaye’s classic soul hit “Let’s Get It On”—a song whose copyright is owned in part by the claimant, Structured Asset Sales. Sheeran is also embroiled in a dispute over royalties for the song “Shape of You” after Sam Chokri claimed to own rights in its refrain. That case will be decided in England next year.

Remixing vs. Ripping Off

In the music sphere and elsewhere, to remix content, mindful of copyright law’s fair use principle, is perfectly acceptable. There’s a line, though, between remixing and IP infringement.

Attributing the idea to the source is essential. And the original creation must be sparingly invoked. This holds true for music or writing, for traditional or digital media.

We have a wider range of materials at our fingertips than any prior generation had. We have access to the works of our contemporaries and the greats who came before us. The world is our library.

Of course, we also have the age-old challenge of understanding plagiarism, copyright, and the principle of assigning credit where it is due.

Intellectual Property Law: What’s Happening in 2019…and Beyond

The Knowledge Group will delve into copyright law and ethics in light of new trends, issues, and cases. Join us for our live, lunchtime webcast Wednesday, January 22, 2020.

Add our CLE webcast on intellectual property and the law to your calendar. We look forward to reserving your spot.