Ed Sheeran has been ordered to disclose his concert earnings from his Divide Tour amid his ongoing Thinking Out Loud copyright lawsuit.
The British singer-songwriter is currently embroiled in a legal dispute over the tune, with plaintiffs including Structured Asset Sales, founded by investment banker David Pullman, arguing the chart-topping hit infringes the Marvin Gaye classic Let's Get It On.
And while Sheeran previously presented the argument that a licence from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) legitimised performance of the tune, the motion was rejected on Wednesday, with Sheeran being forced to divulge his income.
Structured Asset Sales, which secure future royalties to musical intellectual property including works by Ed Townsend, Jr., who co-wrote Let's Get It On, demanded that the singer-songwriter provide detail about his live performances of Thinking Out Loud, including ticket sales and merchandise sold at concerts.
In a 10-page opinion on Wednesday, U.S. District Court Judge Louis Stanton partially granted a motion to compel, requiring Sheeran to give up information about concert revenue and expenses.
Addressing Sheeran's suggestion that holding a licence warrants him to play the song, Stanton said: "(The defendants') argument lacks a foundation. There is no 'right' to infringe. BMI's and ASCAP's blanket and venue licenses could not grant a right to infringe, for there never was one. Absent inapplicable exceptions, neither the author nor any licensee of an infringing work has the right to perform it publicly.
"BMI's and ASCAP's blanket licenses conveyed to licensees the authors' rights to perform their songs... They did not convey the consent of any author to play music which infringes his songs. And the licenses do not transform an infringing work into one that could not, as a matter of law, be infringing."