Ed Sheeran wins ‘Shape of You’ copyright infringement case
English singer – songwriter, Ed Sheeran, has won the High Court copyright infringement case in England over his 2017 hit single, Shape of You.
Songwriters, Sami Chokri whose real name is Sami Switch, and Ross O’Donoghue, had alleged that Sheeran’s 2017 hit single Shape of You had infringed on particular lines and phrases from their 2015 track titled, Oh Why.
In 2018, the Shape of You writers launched legal proceedings requesting that the High Court declare they had not infringed on the copyright. While Chokri and O’Donoghue issued a counterclaim two months later.
At the 11-day trial in London in March, Ed Sheeran refuted borrowing ideas from other songwriters without acknowledgment.
Speaking to the court, he revealed that he “always tried to be completely fair” in crediting his contributors, adding that he was using the opportunity of the trial to clear his name.
Also, in their testimony, Sheeran, McDaid and Mac all denied being aware of Oh Why before writing Shape Of You.
Finally, Justice Zacaroli has ruled that Sheeran “neither deliberately nor subconsciously” copied a phrase from the track when he wrote Shape of You.
He added that Sheeran and his co-writers, Johnny McDaid, producer Steve Mac, did not plagiarize Sami Chokri’s 2015 song, Oh Why.
“While there are similarities between the ‘OW (Oh Why) Hook’ and the ‘OI (Oh I) Phrase’, there are also significant differences.”
“I am satisfied that Mr Sheeran did not subconsciously copy Oh Why in creating Shape of you.”
Reacting to the judgment in a video shared on his Twitter page, Ed Sheeran said:
“Whilst we’re obviously happy with the result I feel like claims like this are way too common now and it’s become a culture where a claim is made with the idea that a settlement will be cheaper than taking them to court, even if there’s no basis for the claim.”
“It’s really damaging to the songwriting industry. Coincidence is bound to happen if sixty thousand songs is being released every day on Spotify. 22 million songs a year, there are only 12 notes that are available.”
“I don’t want to take anything away from the pain and hurt suffered from both sides of this case, I just want to say I’m not an entity or a corporation. I’m a human being, a father, a husband, and a son. Those suits are not a pleasant experience and I hope this ruling it means in the future baseless claims like this can be avoided.”
Shape of You was the UK’s best-selling song of 2017, Spotify’s most-streamed ever and it also won the 2018 Grammy Awards for Best Pop Solo Performance.
The song was co-written by Ed Sheeran, John McDaid, Kandi L. Burruss, Kevin Jerome Briggs, Steve Mac and Tameka D. Cottle.