Home Technology Top Stories Business Most Featured Sports Social Issues Animals News Fashion Crypto Featured Music & Pop Culture Travel & Tourism

Ed Sheeran wins a copyright lawsuit over his hit song "Shape of You"

Author Avatar
By Newsvot News - - 5 Mins Read

Ed Sheeran has won a copyright dispute in the High Court over his 2017 hit Shape of You.

On Wednesday, a judge determined that the singer-songwriter had not plagiarized Sami Chokri's 2015 song Oh Why.

After an 11-day hearing, the judge decided that Sheeran had "neither intentionally nor unconsciously plagiarized" Chokri's song and that while there were "similarities between the one-bar phrase," they were "just a starting point for a probable copyright infringement."

Chokri, a grime musician who goes by the moniker Sami Switch, claimed that Sheeran's "Oh I" hook sounded "strikingly similar" to an "Oh why" refrain in his own song.

The High Court judge has now ruled in Sheeran's favor, saying there was no evidence he heard the earlier song. The musician says these sorts of plagiarism claims a way too common now. 

Although there were "similarities between the one-bar sentence" in Shape of You and Oh Why, Judge Antony Zacaroli stated that "such similarities are simply a starting point for a prospective copyright infringement."

He stated there were "differences in the relevant parts" of the songs after studying the musical elements, which "give persuasive evidence that the 'Oh I' phrase" in Sheeran's song "originated from sources other than Oh Why."

He went on to say that the defense's claim that Sheeran had heard Chokri's song before penning Shape of You was "speculative at best." "In reality, I discovered that he had not heard it," he remarked.

Sheeran composed his number-one hit with two collaborators, Snow Patrol's John McDaid and producer Steven McCutcheon, both of whom denied ever hearing Oh Why before.

The dispute began in 2018, when the trio petitioned the High Court to rule that they had not infringed on Chokri's and his co-writer Ross O'Donoghue's copyright. Last month, an 11-day trial in London was held as a result of this.

Ed Sheeran will be relieved by this decision, as he took the rare step of suing Sami Chokri and Ross O'Donoghue in 2018 in an attempt to clear his name.

Chokri, on the other hand, was more emotional. He claimed he felt "robbed" by an artist he admired and wishes the case had never gone to trial. He was sure, though, that Sheeran had heard and plagiarized his music.

In the end, the judge was not convinced. Chokri needed to show that Sheeran had listened to his music in order to prove copyright infringement; otherwise, the similarities would be coincidental. Chokri's team, however, failed to show that Oh Why had ever graced Sheeran's speakers, according to Mr Justice Zacaroli.

Singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran has hit out at the culture of copyright claims after a court victory.

After winning his legal battle with the composers of a song he claimed he plagiarized, Ed Sheeran warned that pop singers should not be made "easy targets" for copyright disputes.

In a video post after his court win, Ed Sheeran says he hopes it puts an end to future baseless claims. Performer Sammy Switch claims Sheeran's hit shape of You was a rip-off of his own song recorded two years earlier. 

"I hope that this ruling means that in the future, unfounded charges like these may be avoided," Sheeran wrote on Instagram.

"This has to come to an end."

Sheeran was not the first celebrity to face a copyright issue, and a slew of other celebrities have been involved in high-profile legal battles in recent years.

He claimed that there was now a culture "where a claim is made with the expectation that settling it will be less expensive than going to court, even if the claim is without merit."

"It's incredibly harmful to the songwriting profession," he continued, "since there are only so many notes and so few chords used in pop music."

"When 60,000 songs are released on Spotify every day, it's sure to happen by chance." There are only 12 notes available, therefore that's 22 million tunes per year."

Other artists caught in legal disputes

Katy Perry won an appeal last month after a rapper claimed she plagiarized an eight-note riff for her 2013 single Dark Horse.

Dua Lipa has been sued twice recently on her song Levitating, which was the best-selling track in the United States last year. These assertions originate from the writers of Dr Buzzard's Original Savannah Band, a Latin disco band, and Artikal Sound System, a Florida reggae band.

Sam Smith and Normani were also sued last month over their 2019 duet Dancing With A Stranger, and Taylor Swift is facing a trial over her 2014 single Shake It Off.