Snow Patrol’s John McDaid has said there are “obvious holes in the system” after winning a long copyright battle in the High Court for the song Shape Of You alongside Ed Sheeran.
cDaid, who co-wrote the 2017 hit with Sheeran, said taking legal action against musicians for copyright infringement “creates a culture where they can be used as a threat.”
The couple faced allegations that while writing Shape Of You, they stole Sami Chokri and Ross O’Donoghue’s 2015 track Oh Why.
But a judge concluded on Wednesday that Sheeran “neither intentionally nor unknowingly” copied a line from Oh Why when writing his No. 1 hit.
Speaking to BBC Newsnight on Friday night after the verdict, McDaid said: “There are obvious holes in the system at the moment.
“If I can go to a musicologist and get a report and then take that report to the Society and then they freeze someone’s income on that basis, that’s a problem.
“It creates a culture where it can be used as a threat. And I think that’s where we have to have conversations with corporations, with managers, with artists and songwriters, and say, this isn’t okay with anyone.”
During the High Court trial, musicologists expressed differing views as to whether they believed the two songs to be similar, with American forensic musicologist Anthony Ricigliano concluding that it was “objectively unlikely” that similarities would constitute a ” result of copying”.
But another musicologist, Christian Siddell, reported finding that melodic similarities “were so numerous and striking that the possibility of independent creation is … highly unlikely”.
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Sheeran and his co-authors originally filed a court case in May 2018, asking the Supreme Court to declare that they did not infringe Chokri and O’Donoghue’s copyright.
Two months later, Chokri — a grime artist who performs under the name Sami Switch — and O’Donoghue introduced their own lawsuit seeking “copyright infringement, damages and profit settlement related to the alleged infringement.”
The couple claimed an “Oh I” hook on “Shape Of You” was “strikingly similar” to an “Oh why” chorus on their own track.
All three of Shape Of You’s co-writers denied allegations of copying and said they could not recall listening to Oh Why before the lawsuit.
Sitting next to McDaid during the Newsnight interview, Sheeran said the case was about “honesty” and not money.
He said he was “happy it’s over, I’m glad we can move on and start writing songs again” but that the episode made him “sad” and changed his perspective on songwriting.
The Suffolk singer-songwriter, 31, also referenced a previous claim he made in the US about his Song Photographer in 2017, explaining that he now films all of his songwriting sessions to shield himself from future claims protection.
The singer said he “personally regrets” choosing Photograph and said he hasn’t played the song for a long time, explaining, “I just stopped playing it. I felt weird about it, I felt kind of dirty.”
McDaid also spoke about the toll the case had taken on her mental health, saying: “The last year has gotten really tough and it’s been exhausting. The cost to our sanity and creativity has been truly tangible.”
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/music/ed-sheerans-co-writer-john-mcdaid-says-there-are-obvious-holes-in-the-system-41536027.html Ed Sheeran’s co-author John McDaid says there are ‘obvious holes in the system’