Ed Sheeran said he was trying to “clear my name” and denied using litigation to “threatening” other musicians to drop a copyright dispute over his song Shape Of You.
His star insists he’s “a musician, I write songs, that’s it,” as he faced questions about creating the 2017 hit at a Supreme Court hearing. high in London on Tuesday.
Sheeran and the two Shape Of You co-writers, Steven McCutcheon and John McDaid, are involved in litigation with two songwriters, Sami Chokri and Ross O’Donoghue, who allege the song cuts off parts of the song. their 2015 song Oh Why – something they deny.
Legal proceedings were initiated by Sheeran and his co-authors in May 2018, with them asking the Supreme Court to declare they did not infringe the copyrights of Mr Chokri and Mr O’Donoghue.
In July 2018, Mr Chokri and Mr O’Donoghue made their own claims for “copyright infringement, damage and profit accounts related to the alleged infringement”.
In the second day of facing cross-examination in court, Sheeran said: “The proceedings are here so I can clear my name.
“We have an action against us that I, Johnny and Steve all say is wrong.”
Andrew Sutcliffe QC, to Mr. Chokri and Mr. O’Donoghue, explains to Sheeran what a “strategic lawsuit against public participation” is.
Known as Slapp, he described it as “a lawsuit intended to intimidate an opponent by making them incur the costs of legal defense until they waive their claim”.
“That’s your strategy, isn’t it?” Mr. Sutcliffe asked the singer.
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“No,” Sheeran replied, adding, “I wanted to prove I was right.”
Mr Chokri and Mr O’Donoghue accused Shape Of You of infringing on “specific lines and phrases” in their song, but Sheeran told the court: “I did not copy Oh Why.”
In the witness stand, Sheeran would regularly pop up the song and hum tunes and musical tunes when he was asked about how to write Shape Of You.
In his written evidence, the singer admitted in court that he “couldn’t read music,” said the use of “the pentatonic form” was “very common” and was used in the song I His See Fire and Nina Simone’s.
He sang a piece of I See Fire, Nina Simone’s Feeling Good, as well as Shape Of You, in front of the courtroom.
“If you put them all in the same lock, they sound the same,” he says.
He repeatedly told the court that he, Mr. McDaid and Mr. McCutcheon wrote Shape Of You together.
Mr Chokri, a grumpy performer who performs under the name Sami Switch, and Mr O’Donoghue, assert that the central verse “Oh I” in Shape Of You is “very similar” to the chorus “Oh Why” in their own creations.
The hooks were described by Sheeran as using a “small pentatonic scale with two vowels” when asked if they were the same.
Mr. Sutcliffe claimed that Sheeran’s co-authors could not recall “how this Oh I came into being”, suggesting that it was because Sheeran “originated it”.
“No,” Sheeran said, adding, “I would say the tune and it was all three of us in a circle, bouncing back and forth. That’s how it originated. “
The singer testified in court that he had written thousands of songs since the age of 13 and admitted that he sometimes forgot what he had composed.
Mr Sutcliffe previously described Sheeran as “an obsessive musical squirrel” who “devoured music in 2015 and 2016”.
Previously, the male singer denied that he had “discovered talent” and “plunged” into the British music industry in 2015, when Mr. Chokri returned after a two-year absence.
Mr Sutcliffe said there was “no way” Sheeran could remember “every song you’ve ever heard” and asked if he could rule out the possibility that he had heard Oh Why and “forget it”.
“I can and that is why we are here,” Sheeran replied.
Mr Sutcliffe accused the singer of pursuing the lawsuit in a way that was “clearly unfair” to Mr Chokri and Mr O’Donoghue.
He claims Sheeran’s lawyers have sued because PRS for music – the agency that collects and distributes royalties – has “frozen” payments for UK broadcast and performance income from Shape Of You, which he alleges accounts for less than 10% of total song sales.
Sheeran told the court that “honestly, I don’t know how any of my songs work,” adding: “My songs come out and come out, I don’t know how much they make. much”.
Earlier, on Tuesday, the court inadvertently played a clip of Sheeran’s unreleased material from Mr McCutcheon’s computer as the singer was reportedly listening to the first recordings from the making Shape Of You.
The court also heard that, during the making of Shape Of You, Sheeran decided that singing an early version of a part using the word “heya” was too “close to the bone” because it sounded similar to a song called No Diggity of the band. Black line.
The reference to the TLC No Scrubs song has also been changed, Sheeran explained in her written proof that “because we were halfway to clearing usage, we ended up having to share the percentage to the rights holders in Shape Of You’s No Scrubs anyway”.
Justice Zacaroli’s trial, expected to last three weeks, will resume on Wednesday.
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/music/music-news/i-wanted-to-prove-i-was-right-ed-sheeran-denies-using-litigation-to-intimidate-other-songwriters-in-copyright-dispute-41429647.html ‘I want to prove myself right’ – Ed Sheeran denies using litigation to ‘threate’ other musicians in copyright dispute