Ed Sheeran wins ‘Shape of You’ copyright infringement case

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Ed Sheeran has won a copyright infringement dispute in England’s High Court over his hit single Shape of You from 2017.

Songwriters Sami Chokri and Ross O’Donoghue claimed that Sheeran’s hit single “Shape of You” from 2017 infringed on words and phrases from their 2015 song “Oh Why.”

The writers of ‘Shape of You’ filed a lawsuit in 2018, demanding that the High Court rule that they had not infringed on the copyright. Chokri and O’Donoghue responded two months later with a counterclaim.

At the 11-day trial in London in March, Ed Sheeran denied 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’.

In today’s ruling, Justice Zacaroli ruled that Sheeran “neither deliberately nor subconsciously” copied a phrase from the track when writing Shape of You.

The judge ruled that Sheeran’s ‘Shape of You’ and his co-writers, Johnny McDaid and producer Steve Mac, did not plagiarise Sami Chokri’s 2015 song ‘Oh Why’.

In a video statement posted to Twitter celebrating his win, 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. It’s really damaging to the songwriting industry. 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. Lawsuits are not a pleasant experience, and I hope with this ruling it means in the future baseless claims like this can be avoided.”

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