September 18, 2023

Copyright Infringement Insights: Ed Sheeran and Getty Images

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Ed Sheeran Wins Copyright Infringement Suit

Recently, Ed Sheeran won a copyright infringement lawsuit concerning his Grammy-winning song “Thinking Out Loud” and Marvin Gaye’s classic track “Let’s Get It On.” The heirs of Ed Townsend, a co-writer of “Let’s Get It On” sued Sheeran alleging copyright infringement. After a trial in the US District Court in Manhattan, a jury found that Sheeran did not commit copyright infringement.

Generally speaking, copyright infringement occurs when a copyrighted work is reproduced, distributed, performed, publicly displayed, or made into a derivative work without the permission of the copyright owner. Sheeran and his writing partner argued that they independently created “Thinking Out Loud” and Sheeran performed songs during the trial in order to show how he created the song originally.

The lawsuit, originally filed in 2017, demonstrates the value that can accrue in copyrighted works and the need to protect those works as you would any other valuable asset.


Generative AI Company Sued for Unauthorized Copying of Photos from Getty Images

Getty Images filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against artificial intelligence company Stability AI Inc, accusing Stability AI of unauthorized use of Getty photos to train its Stable Diffusion AI image-generation system. Stable Diffusion is a generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) platform that generates artwork based on text inputs by a user of the platform.

Getty Images accused the AI company of illegally copying more than 12 million images from its database. Various artists have also brought suit against Stability AI and related parties alleging copyright infringement for unauthorized use of copyrighted works.

The ability of AI and other aggregating tools to scrape the internet and use content highlights the importance of protecting your intellectual property as soon as possible, and preferably before making it available to the public and to content scraping tools.


Contact us or schedule a consultation for assistance with intellectual property matters pertaining to your business.

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