Ed Sheeran wins UK copyright lawsuit over ‘Shape of You’

Ed Sheeran won a copyright lawsuit from another singer who claimed that the Grammy Award-winner’s 2017 hit “Shape of You” was partially copied from a tune released two years earlier.

The British pop star and his co-writers John McDaid of Snow Patrol and producer Steven McCutcheon have denied allegations that the song copied part of 2015’s “Oh Why” by Sami Chokri, who performs under the name Sami Switch.

Taking to Twitter on Wednesday, Sheeran expressed relief at his legal victory in the UK, despite denouncing what he called a “culture” of baseless lawsuits aimed at extorting money from artists wanting to avoid the costs of a lawsuit.

“While we are obviously happy with the outcome, I feel that claims like this are far too common now and have become a culture where a claim is made with the idea that it’s cheaper to settle than going to court even if it happens is not a basis for the claim,” Sheerhan said in a video posted to Twitter.

“It’s really detrimental to the songwriting industry.”

Andrew Sutcliffe, attorney for the co-writers of “Oh Why,” argued that there was an “undeniable resemblance between the works.”

He claimed Sheeran “consciously or unconsciously” had “Oh Why” in mind when “Shape of You” was written in 2016.

Plaintiffs alleged that the chorus “Oh I, Oh I, Oh I” in the chorus of “Shape Of You” was “strikingly similar” to the line “Oh why, Oh why, Oh why” in their track.

During the 11-day trial, Sheeran denied allegations that he “borrowed” ideas from unknown songwriters without credit, saying he’s always been fair in giving credit to people who contributed to his albums.

Ed Sheeran
A British judge dismissed the plaintiff’s claims that Sheeran deleted parts of a song from his 2015 hit “Shape of You”.
Dave J Hogan/Getty Images for BR

In Wednesday’s decision, High Court Justice Antony Zacaroli concluded that Sheeran “neither intentionally nor unknowingly” copied a line from “Oh Why” when writing his hit song.

Sheeran, McDaid and Mac said in a statement that the cost of the case was more than just financial. The stress of going to court also hurts creativity, means less time to make music, and takes an emotional toll, they said.

“It’s so painful to hear someone publicly and aggressively question their integrity,” the trio said. “It’s so painful to have to defend yourself against accusations that you did something you didn’t do and never would.”

“Shape of You” was the UK’s best-selling song of 2017.

With postal wires Ed Sheeran wins UK copyright lawsuit over ‘Shape of You’


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