Ed Sheeran takes legal action against ‘unfounded’ legal copyright claims after winning court case


Ed Sheeran said music “only has so many notes” and “baseless” copyright claims are “damaging” the industry after a court ruled he hadn’t plagiarized a hit single from 2017.

The star has been accused of copying part of “Shape of You” from an obscure 2015 track titled “Oh Why” by songwriter Sami Chokri.

In a video statement released after a High Court judge dismissed the case, Sheeran said, “There are only so many notes and very few chords in popular music that there’s bound to be coincidence when there’s 60,000 on Spotify every day to be published.

“That’s 22 million songs a year – and there are only 12 notes available.”

He added, “I hope this ruling will result in baseless claims being avoided in the future.”

Chokri and his co-writer Ross O’Donoghue claimed that a repeated refrain of “Oh my” in Sheeran’s “Shape of You” was copied from a repeated refrain of “Oh why” in their track.

The pair made their claim to PRS For Music, a licensing agency that froze Sheeran’s royalties from the song in 2018.

Sheeran then sued, and Chokri and O’Donoghue countersued, resulting in a three-week trial.

Both contested tracks feature notes that rise in the minor pentatonic scale in the same way.

Attorneys for Chokri and O’Donoghue argued that there was a “one in a million” chance that the two songs happened to sound the same.

It has further been claimed that Sheeran must have heard the track and copied it, either intentionally or unknowingly, thinking he actually made it up.

But Judge Antony Zacaroli yesterday delivered his verdict in the case, calling claims against Sheeran “baseless” and noting that “coincidences” of tunes are “not uncommon” in popular music.

He felt that the musical arrangement of the controversial choruses in both songs was not unusual and similarities inevitably arose without copying taking place.

He said: “The use of the first four notes of the ascending minor pentatonic scale for the melody is so brief, simple, commonplace and so obvious in the context of the rest of the song that it is not credible that Mr. Sheeran took inspiration from other songs to do so.” come.”

He also hinted that Sheeran hadn’t attempted to complement “Shape of You” — a dance track — by plagiarizing “Oh Why,” a “dark” downtempo song.

There have been attempts to show that the Suffolk-born Sheeran was a musical “magpie” who borrowed ideas from other artists and that he had previously paid £4million (€4.8million) after claiming he Copied Matt Carde’s 2012 song “Amazing” for his 2014 track “Foto”.

But Mr Justice Zacaroli found that Sheeran was “neither intentionally nor unknowingly” copied from “Oh Why,” and there was no evidence the pop star had ever heard the obscure track he was said to have copied.

The judge also dealt with allegations that Sheeran had copied tracks in the past, and stated that paying copyright claims before the trial was not an admission of guilt.

Sheeran said in his video, “Claims like this are far too common today and have evolved into a culture where claims are made with the idea that a settlement is cheaper than going to court, even if there is no basis for it.” there is a demand.”

In a joint statement, the 31-year-old, who won the case with co-authors Johnny McDaid and Steven McCutcheon, said: “Creativity comes at a price. When we’re involved in litigation, we don’t make music or play shows.

“Our mental health comes at a price. The stress this creates on all sides is immense.” (© Telegraph Media Group Ltd. 2022)

Telegraph Media Group Limited [2022] Ed Sheeran takes legal action against ‘unfounded’ legal copyright claims after winning court case

Fry Electronics Team

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