According to TMZ, Structured Asset Sales has filed a suit claiming the monster single from Sheeran’s X album uses melodic, harmonic, rhythmic, instrumental and dynamic elements taken from Gaye’s 1973 song. A rep for Sheeran did not respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
This is not the first time the accusation has been made. In 2016 Sheeran was sued by the family of Ed Townsend, who co-wrote the song with Gaye, but the case was ultimately dismissed the following year. Now that the Townsend family has sold a third of their shares in “Let’s Get It On” to Structured Asset Sales, the organization is relaunching the suit.
At present it remains unclear whether the Gaye family will enter the legal fray. The decedents of the late “What’s Going On” singer famously took on Robin Thicke, Pharrell Williams and T.I. over their 2013 smash “Blurred Lines,” which they believed resembled Gaye’s “Got to Give It Up.” The courts agreed and awarded the family $7.4 million in damages in 2015.
Others have alleged similarities between Sheeran and Gaye’s songs. In 2016, during Boyz II Men’s 25th anniversary show in New Jersey, the group pointed out the apparent likeness between the tracks as they started a cover of “Let’s Get It On” before transitioning into “Thinking Out Loud.”
Sheeran’s dealt with similar legal troubles in the recent past, having been sued over his song “Photograph” in June 2016.
Songwriters Martin Harrington and Tom Leonard filed a lawsuit alleging that Sheeran’s song sounded too similar to “Amazing,” a tune they had written for British X Factor winner Matt Cardle in 2011. Harrington and Leonard sought a jury trial and damages in excess of $20 million, as well as royalties. The case was settled privately out of court in 2017 for an undisclosed sum.