Ed Sheeran has detailed the toll his recent copyright case has taken on his mental health, as well as the creative costs of the legal battle, as he called for an end to “unfounded claims.”
The singer and his Shape Of You co-writers Johnny McDaid and Steven McCutcheon have been accused of stealing Sami Chokri and Ross O’Donoghue’s 2015 song Oh Why.
In a Wednesday ruling, Judge Zacaroli concluded that Sheeran “neither intentionally nor unknowingly” copied a line from Oh Why when writing Shape Of You.
A joint statement from Sheeran, McDaid and McCutcheon said: “There has been a lot of talk about costs in this case. But there is more than just a financial expense.
“Creativity has its price. When we’re involved in litigation, we don’t make music or play shows.
“Our mental health comes at a price. The stress that this creates on all sides is immense.
“It affects so many aspects of our everyday lives and the lives of our families and friends. We are not corporations. We are not beings. We are human beings. We are songwriters.
“We don’t want to belittle the hurt and pain that anyone has suffered as a result, while at the same time we feel it’s important to acknowledge that we, too, have had our own hurts and life struggles throughout this process.”
The statement also said such cases “are affecting the broader circle of songwriters everywhere,” adding, “Our hope of having been through all of this shows that there is a need for a safe space for all songwriters to be creative.” and to be free to express her heart.
Sami Chokri accused Ed Sheeran of stealing part of his song (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)
“That’s why we all got involved in it in the first place. Everyone should be able to express themselves freely and fearlessly in music and in art.”
The trio said they believe there should be a due process for “legitimate and justifiable copyright protection,” but added, “It’s not the same as having a culture where unjustified claims are easily asserted. That is neither constructive nor conducive to a culture of creativity.”
Sheeran, McDaid and McCutcheon said they respect the music of those who came before and inspired them and “always tried to clarify or acknowledge our influences and collaborators. No matter how successful something seems to be, we still respect it.”
The statement continued, “It is so painful to hear someone publicly and aggressively question your integrity.
“It’s so painful to have to defend yourself against allegations of doing something you didn’t do and never would do.
“Although this was one of the most difficult things we have ever gone through in our professional lives, we will continue to defend ourselves against baseless claims and protect our rights and the integrity of our musical creativity so that we who can keep making music, always.
“Our message to songwriters everywhere is please support each other. Be nice to each other. Let’s continue to nurture community spirit and creativity.”
In an additional video on Instagram, Sheeran said such claims are “far too common now,” adding that there’s “a culture where a claim is made with the idea that it’s cheaper to settle than to go to court, even if there’s no basis for the claim, and it’s really detrimental to the songwriting industry.”
He continued, “There are only a finite number of notes and very few chords used in popular music, and coincidences are bound to happen when 60,000 songs a day are released on Spotify, that’s 22 million songs a year, and that’s only 12 notes are available.
“Litigation is not a pleasant experience and I hope this ruling will help avoid baseless claims like these in the future. This really has to end.”
https://www.independent.ie/news/ed-sheeran-wins-uk-high-court-copyright-battle-details-mental-health-toll-of-baseless-shape-of-you-case-41526073.html Ed Sheeran wins copyright battle in UK High Court and describes the psychological distress of the ‘unfounded’ Shape Of You case