Ed Sheeran wins copyright battle over his 2017 hit "Shape of You"
British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran has finally won a four-year copyright battle over his 2017 hit song Shape of You after a UK judge concluded that he had not plagiarized the work of another British artist.
Sami Chokri - aka Sami Switch - and songwriter Ross O’Donoghue had blamed Ed Sheeran and two of his co-writers for plagiarizing part of a track.
He claimed that the “Oh I” melodic hook in Sheeran’s Shape of You was “strikingly similar” to the “Oh why” portion of his own song released in 2015.
Chokri alleged that he felt "robbed" by an artist he admired and that he hoped the case had never gone to trial. However, he remained firm in his belief that Sheeran had heard and copied his song.
Sheeran and his co-writers denied the allegations. They took legal action in 2018 after the track's royalties were frozen, when Chokri and O'Donoghue asked the Performing Rights Society (PRS) to add them to the song's credits as co-writers.
Sheeran refuted claims that he "borrows" ideas from unknown composers without crediting them. He said that he has always given credit to and shared royalties with those who contribute to his albums.
Last month, the UK High Court Judge Antony Zacaroli concluded in an 11-day trial that Sheeran “neither deliberately nor subconsciously” copied a phrase from “Oh Why” when writing his hit song.
He acknowledged that there were "similarities between the one-bar phrase," but "such similarities are only a starting point for a possible infringement" of copyright.
After the ruling was announced, Sheeran said that they were “obviously happy with the results,” but “claims like this have become way too common now” and these types of allegations are “really damaging to the song writing industry.”
Sheeran also asserted that it has “become a culture where a claim is made with the idea that settlement will be cheaper than taking it to court, even if there’s no basis for the claim.”
In recent years, copyright infringement cases have become more widespread in the music industry. Popstar Dua Lipa was recently sued twice for her hit song Levitating.
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