Ed Sheeran is making his perspective clear on the power of copyright claims when it comes to songwriting.
Ed Sheeran appeared to threaten to quit the music industry if he loses the copyright infringement lawsuit accusing him of stealing material from Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get it On” to write “Thinking Out Loud.”
The English singer-songwriter took the stand Monday in New York and called the allegations “really insulting,” testifying that the chords in question are a “common progression” used in several songs.
When Sheeran’s attorney Ilene Farkas asked what he would do if jurors determined that “Thinking Out Loud” copied Gaye’s 1973 hit, he said, “If that happens, I’m done, I’m stopping,” according to PEOPLE. “I find it to be really insulting. I work really hard to be where I’m at.”
Representatives for Sheeran didn’t immediately respond to EW’s request for further comment.
The estate of Ed Townsend, who co-wrote “Let’s Get It On” with Gaye, filed the lawsuit against Sheeran in 2017 and alleged that his 2014 track featured “striking similarities” and “overt common elements” to “Let’s Get It On” that violate copyright. Sheeran co-wrote the Grammy-winning track with Amy Wage, who also took the stand and called the infringement allegations “devastating” and “frightening because it’s something we did not do.”
Wage testified that she never formally learned how to play guitar and that she used the same “basic” chord progression in question in another song, per CNN. “I was just playing some simple chords that I knew how to play,” Wage said, adding that it was “not possible” for her to have infringed on another song.
Sheeran won a separate copyright infringement lawsuit in the U.K. last year over his 2017 song “Shape of You.” Following his victory, he slammed the “damaging” uptick in lawsuits against mainstream artists. “I’m not an entity, I’m not a corporation, I’m a human being,” he said. “I’m a father, I’m a husband, I’m a son. Lawsuits are not a pleasant experience, and I hope that this ruling, it means in the future, baseless claims like this can be avoided.”