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Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

Ed Sheeran Wins "Shape of You" Copyright Case


Thu 07 Apr 2022 | 09:08 AM
Yara Sameh

English singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran has won a High Court copyright battle in England over his 2017 mega-hit “Shape Of You” following a high-profile trial.

A judge ruled Wednesday that Sheeran and his co-writers, Snow Patrol’s Johnny McDaid and producer Steve Mac, did not plagiarize Sami Chokri’s 2015 song “Oh Why”.

In his ruling, the judge concluded that Sheeran neither deliberately nor subconsciously copied a phrase from the 2015 song when writing “Shape of You”, as Sheeran emphasized during the trial.

In a video statement posted to Twitter, Sheeran said, “While we’re obviously happy with the result, I feel like claims like this are way too common now and have become a culture where a claim is made with the idea that a settlement will be cheaper than taking it to court. Even if there’s no base for the claim,"

He stated that these claims were damaging to the songwriting industry and noted: "There’s only so many notes and very few chords used in pop music. Coincidence is bound to happen if 60,000 songs are being released every day on Spotify.”

“I don’t want to take anything away from the pain and hurt suffered by both sides of this case, but I just want to say that I’m not an entity. I’m not a corporation. I’m a human being. I’m a father. I’m a husband. I’m a son," Sheeran pointed out.

He stressed lawsuits are not a pleasant experience and expressed his hope that the ruling means baseless claims in the future can be avoided.

https://twitter.com/edsheeran/status/1511631955238047751?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1511631955238047751%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.yahoo.com%2Fentertainment%2Fed-sheeran-wins-shape-copyright-094329802.html

Chokri, who performs under the stage name Sami Switch, and his co-writer Ross O’Donoghue sued Sheeran, McDaid, and Mac for copyright infringement over alleged similarities between the two songs.

The legal battle between the two parties dates back to 2018 when Sheeran, McCutcheon, and McDaid asked the High Court to declare they had not infringed Chokri and O’Donoghue’s copyright for “Oh Why”.

Chokri and O’Donogue later filed a counterclaim alleging infringement.

Andrew Sutcliffe QC, representing Chokri and O'Donoghue, pointed out Sheeran, McDaid, and McCutcheon’s original move aimed to deter later claims due to large legal costs.

During the 11-day trial in London in March, Sheeran denied claims of borrowing ideas from other songwriters without their acknowledgment and always tried to be completely fair in crediting his contributors.

In their testimony, Sheeran, McDaid, and Mac denied being aware of “Oh Why” prior to writing “Shape Of You”.