(New York) Did one of the current kings of pop, Ed Sheeran, plagiarize Marvin Gaye’s famous song, Let’s get it on, for his worldwide hit Thinking out loud? In federal court in New York, an iconic copyright lawsuit opened on Tuesday, with Ed Sheeran and the family of the co-author of Gaye’s title in attendance.

It’s the second trial in a year for the 32-year-old British singer and songwriter, who won a separate court battle in London’s High Court last April that dismissed two musicians accusing him of copying one of their works, for his mega success Shape of you.

This time, the plaintiffs are the heirs of Ed Townsend, an American musician and producer who co-wrote Let’s get it on with Marvin Gaye. Released in 1973, this soul classic has remained famous for its guitar notes and the sensual vocals of the prince of soul and the Motown label.

In front of the federal court in Manhattan, Ed Sheeran arrived, head bowed, without saying a word to the forest of cameras, followed by the daughter of Townsend, Kathryn Townsend Griffin. “I’m here for justice, to protect my father’s intellectual property,” she told reporters.

The plaintiffs’ attorney, Ben Crump, launched with the title of the hit Let’s get it on: “As Marvin Gaye would have said, let’s go!” “.

In their copyright claim, Townsend’s heirs claim there are “striking resemblances” to Thinking Out Loud, released in 2014.

They want proof that the group Boyz 2 Men had mixed the two songs on stage. Ed Sheeran himself had chained in concert the lines of voices, very different, of the two tubes, on the same guitar harmonies, a sequence still visible on the internet.

“Proof” disputed by the singer’s lawyers, for whom “there are dozens, if not hundreds of songs before and after Let’s get it on that use the same chord progression or a similar progression”.

Ed Sheeran’s success ranked 2nd on the Billboard Hot 100, the American reference ranking, and won the Grammy Award for best song of the year in 2016.

The complaint, filed in 2016, was first dismissed on a procedural issue, then filed again in 2017, also against Sony.

As in New York, Ed Sheeran came in person to defend his song Shape of you in the previous trial in London, a case he considered emblematic of abusive practices that undermine creation.

The London judge agreed with Ed Sheeran, finding that he had not copied, even “unknowingly”, part of the melody of the song Oh why (2015) by Sami Chokri and Ross O’Donoghue.

The judge had noted “obvious similarities” between the two songs, with a melody resulting in particular from the minor pentatonic scale like “countless songs of pop, rock, folk and blues”, but also “significant differences”.

The American Marvin Gaye is considered one of the great artists of soul and popular music of the last century. Born in 1939 in Washington, he died in 1984 in Los Angeles, killed by his father after an argument on the eve of his 45th birthday.